Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

little

2 determiner, pronoun
     
little2 S1 W1
1 only a small amount or hardly any of something:
There's little doubt in my mind that he's guilty.
I paid little attention to what the others were saying.
Little is known about the causes of the problem.
Changes in the law have done little to improve the situation.
little of
Little of their wealth now remains.
There's very little money left.
Many of the students speak little or no English.
He knew little or nothing (=almost nothing) about fixing cars.
My lawyer advised me to say as little as possible.
He did precious little (=very little) to help.
The laboratory tests are of little real value.
see usage note few
2

a little

a small amount:
Fortunately I had a little time to spare.
Susan speaks a little French.
A little over half the class can swim.
He walked on a little (=a short distance) and then turned back.
a little more/less
Would you like a little more milk in your coffee?
a little of
The city is regaining a little of its former splendour.
3

as little as £5/3 months/10 feet etc

used to emphasize how surprisingly small an amount is:
Prices for his paintings start from as little as £100.
The weather can change completely in as little as half an hour.
4

what little

also the little (that) used to emphasize how small an amount there is, how small an amount is possible etc:
We did what little we could to help.
I handed over what little money I had left.
5

a little (of something) goes a long way

spoken used to say that only a small amount of something is needed or has a great effect:
A little kindness goes a long way.
WORD CHOICE: WORD CHOICE:

a few, few, a little, little, a bit, fewer, less
a few and few are used before plural nouns.a few means 'a small number' It will take a few minutes. I've got a few friends who live nearby.few means 'not many'. It emphasizes how small the number is. It is mainly used in writing or formal speech Few people would deny her talent. He has few interests outside his work.In spoken English or informal writing it is more usual to say not many Not many people saw what happened. a little and little are used before uncountable nouns.a little means 'some, but not a lot' We still have a little time left.In spoken British English, it is more usual to say a bit 'Are you tired?' 'A bit.' I've got a bit of money left.little means 'not much'. It emphasizes how small the amount is. It is mainly used in writing or formal speech There is now little hope of success.In spoken English or informal writing it is more usual to say not much There was not much milk left.The comparative of few is fewer Few people have read the book, and even fewer understand it.The comparative of little is less We know little about his adult life, and less about his childhood.!! Sometimes people use less before a plural noun, but many people think that this is incorrect, so it is better to use fewer a village of fewer (NOT less) than 200 inhabitantsSee also few

Dictionary pictures of the day
Do you know what each of these is called?
What is the word for picture 1? What is the word for picture 2? What is the word for picture 3? What is the word for picture 4?
Click on any of the pictures above to find out what it is called.

Explore our topic dictionary