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adj. lit•tler less less•er, lit•tlest least, adj.
little a little
Little is usually an adjective. You use it to talk about the size of something.
A little is usually an adverb. You use it after a verb, or in front of an adjective or another adverb. It means 'to a small extent or degree'.
Don't use 'a little' in front of an adjective when the adjective comes in front of a noun. Don't say, for example, 'It was a little better result'. Say 'It was a slightly better result' or 'It was a somewhat better result'.
Little and a little are also used in front of nouns to talk about quantities. When they are used like this, they do not have the same meaning.
You use a little to show that you are talking about a small quantity or amount of something. When you use little without 'a', you are emphasizing that there is only a small quantity or amount of something.
So, for example, if you say 'I have a little money', you are saying that you have some money. However, if you say 'I have little money', you mean that you do not have enough money.
Little and a little can be used in similar ways as pronouns.
In conversation and in less formal writing, people do not usually use 'little' without 'a'. Instead they use not much. For example, instead of saying 'I have little money', they say 'I haven't got much money' or 'I don't have much money'.
Don't use 'little' or 'a little' when you are talking about a small number of people or things. Don't say, for example, 'She has a little hens'. Say 'She has a few hens'. Similarly, don't say 'Little people attended his lectures'. Say 'Few people attended his lectures', or 'Not many people attended his lectures'.
Small and little are both used to say that someone or something is not large. There are some important differences in the ways these words are used.
Small can be used in front of a noun, or after a verb such as be.
Little is normally used only in front of nouns. You can talk about 'a little town', but you do not say 'The town is little'.
You can use words like quite and rather in front of small.
Don't use these words in front of 'little'.
You can use very and too in front of small.
'Very' or 'too' are not usually used in front of little when it is an adjective, except when you are talking about a young child. You don't say, for example, 'I have a very little car', but you can say 'She was a very little girl.'
Small has the comparative and superlative forms smaller and smallest.
The comparative form littler and the superlative form littlest are mostly used in spoken English and to talk about young children.
You can use other adjectives in front of little.
You don't normally use other adjectives in front of 'small'.
|Noun||1.||little - a small amount or duration; "he accepted the little they gave him"|
|Adj.||1.||little - limited or below average in number or quantity or magnitude or extent; "a little dining room"; "a little house"; "a small car"; "a little (or small) group"|
big, large - above average in size or number or quantity or magnitude or extent; "a large city"; "set out for the big city"; "a large sum"; "a big (or large) barn"; "a large family"; "big businesses"; "a big expenditure"; "a large number of newspapers"; "a big group of scientists"; "large areas of the world"
|2.||little - (quantifier used with mass nouns) small in quantity or degree; not much or almost none or (with `a') at least some; "little rain fell in May"; "gave it little thought"; "little time is left"; "we still have little money"; "a little hope remained"; "there's slight chance that it will work"; "there's a slight chance it will work"|
less - (comparative of `little' usually used with mass nouns) a quantifier meaning not as great in amount or degree; "of less importance"; "less time to spend with the family"; "a shower uses less water"; "less than three years old"
much - (quantifier used with mass nouns) great in quantity or degree or extent; "not much rain"; "much affection"; "much grain is in storage"
|3.||little - (of children and animals) young, immature; "what a big little boy you are"; "small children"|
|4.||little - (informal) small and of little importance; "a fiddling sum of money"; "a footling gesture"; "our worries are lilliputian compared with those of countries that are at war"; "a little (or small) matter"; "a dispute over niggling details"; "limited to petty enterprises"; "piffling efforts"; "giving a police officer a free meal may be against the law, but it seems to be a picayune infraction"|
colloquialism - a colloquial expression; characteristic of spoken or written communication that seeks to imitate informal speech
unimportant - not important; "a relatively unimportant feature of the system"; "the question seems unimportant"
|5.||little - (of a voice) faint; "a little voice"; "a still small voice"|
soft - (of sound) relatively low in volume; "soft voices"; "soft music"
|6.||little - low in stature; not tall; "he was short and stocky"; "short in stature"; "a short smokestack"; "a little man"|
low - literal meanings; being at or having a relatively small elevation or upward extension; "low ceilings"; "low clouds"; "low hills"; "the sun is low"; "low furniture"; "a low bow"
|7.||little - lowercase; "little a"; "small a"; "e.e.cummings's poetry is written all in minuscule letters"|
lowercase - relating to small (not capitalized) letters that were kept in the lower half of a compositor's type case; "lowercase letters; a and b and c etc"
|8.||little - small in a way that arouses feelings (of tenderness or its opposite depending on the context); "a nice little job"; "bless your little heart"; "my dear little mother"; "a sweet little deal"; "I'm tired of your petty little schemes"; "filthy little tricks"; "what a nasty little situation"|
emotional - of more than usual emotion; "his behavior was highly emotional"
|Adv.||1.||little - not much; "he talked little about his family"|
small great, big, large, huge, giant, enormous, considerable, immense, colossal, ginormous (informal)
unimportant important, serious, major, significant, grave, momentous
bit much, lot
"Little things affect little minds" [Benjamin Disraeli Sybil]
a little house → una casa pequeña or (LAm) chica
a little book → un libro pequeño or (LAm) chico
she had a little girl yesterday → ayer tuvo una niñita
when I was little → cuando era pequeña, de pequeña
the little ones (= children) → los pequeños
a little walk → un paseo corto
we went for a little holiday → nos fuimos para unas vacaciones cortitas
a little book/boat/piece → un librito/barquito/trocito
a little house → una casita
a little girl → una niñita, una chiquita
a little fish → un pececillo, un pececito
a little sip → un sorbito
the little woman (hum) (= wife) → la costilla, la parienta (Sp)
it's the little man who suffers (= small trader) → el pequeño comerciante es el que sale perdiendo
it's just a little something → no es más que una cosita de poco valor
Little Englander N (Brit) (Hist) en el siglo XIX, persona con ideas opuestas a la ampliación del imperio británico; (= chauvinist) → patriotero/a m/f; (= anti-European) → anti-europeoísta mf
little finger N → dedo m meñique, meñique m
the little folk NPL = the little people the little people NPL (Irl) (= fairies) → los duendecillos
little toe N → dedo m pequeño del pie
little2 [ˈlɪtl] (less (compar) (least (superl)))
he knows little → sabe poco
to see/do little → ver/hacer poco
there was little we could do → apenas había nada que hacer
he had little to say → poco fue lo que tenía que decir
that has little to do with it! → ¡eso tiene poco que ver!
as little as £5 → 5 libras, nada más
there's very little left → queda muy poco
to make little of sth (= play down) → quitarle importancia a algo; (= fail to exploit) → desaprovechar algo
they made little of loading the huge boxes (= accomplish easily) → cargaron las enormes cajas como si nada
little of what he says is true → poco de lo que dice es verdad
little or nothing → poco o nada
to spend little or nothing → gastar poco o nada
he lost weight because he ate so little → adelgazó porque comía muy poco
I know too little about him to have an opinion → no lo conozco lo suficiente para poder opinar
too little too late → muy poco y muy tarde
I had a little of everything → comí un poco de todo
little by little → poco a poco
however little you give, we'll be grateful → agradeceremos su donativo, por pequeño que sea
a little less/more milk → un poco menos/más de leche
a little more slowly → un poco más despacio
the little I have seen is excellent → lo poco que he visto me ha parecido excelente
I did what little I could → hice lo poco que pude
see also every 1
there is little hope of finding them alive → hay pocas esperanzas de encontrarlos con vida
with little difficulty → sin problema or dificultad
so much to do, so little time → tanto que hacer y en tan poco tiempo
I have so little time for reading → tengo muy poco tiempo para leer
he gave me too little money → me dio poquísimo dinero
I have very little money → tengo muy poco dinero
I speak a little Spanish → hablo un poco de español
a little bit (of) → un poquito (de)
with no little trouble → con bastante dificultad, con no poca dificultad
for a little time or while → un ratito
he reads little → lee poco
they spoke very little on the way home → hablaron muy poco de camino para casa
try to move as little as possible → intenta moverte lo menos posible
(as) little as I like him, I must admit that → aunque me gusta muy poco, debo admitir que ...
a little known fact → un hecho poco conocido
little more than → poco más que
little more than a month ago → hace poco más de un mes
a little read book → un libro poco leído, un libro que se lee poco
it's little short of a miracle → es casi un milagro
we were a little surprised/happier → nos quedamos algo sorprendidos/más contentos
a little better → un poco mejor, algo mejor
a little less/more than → un poco menos/más que ...
we were not a little worried → nos inquietamos bastante, quedamos muy inquietos
When I was little I was hyper-active → Quand j'étais petit, j'étais hyperactif.
her little brother Kevin → son petit frère Kevin
a little girl → une petite fille
a little while longer → un petit peu plus longtemps
a little way → une petite distance
Just go down the road a little way → Descendez la rue sur une petite distance.
We've little money → Nous avons peu d'argent.
with little difficulty → sans trop de difficulté
very little [time, money, hope] → très peu de
We've got very little time → Nous avons très peu de temps.
Little is known about his childhood → On sait peu de choses sur son enfance.
very little → très peu de choses
to make little of → faire peu de cas de
How much would you like? - Just a little → Combien en voulez-vous? - Juste un peu.
Try to persuade her to eat a little → Essayez de la persuader de manger un peu.
a little of → un peu de
Pour a little of the sauce over the chicken → Verser un peu de la sauce sur le poulet.little finger n → petit doigt mlittle-known [ˌlɪtəlˈnəʊn] adj → peu connu(e)Little League n (US) championnat de baseball pour les moins de 12 anslittle toe n → petit orteil m
little1 [ˈlɪtl] adj
a little chair → una seggiolina
a little cup → una tazzina
my little brother → il mio fratellino
a little girl → una bambina
little finger → mignolo
poor little thing! → poverino!
we went for a little ride/walk → siamo andati a fare un giretto/una passeggiatina
for a little while → per un po'
it's only a little way to the station → la stazione non è lontana
a little holiday → una breve vacanza
little2 [ˈlɪtl] (less (comp) (least (superl)))
a little milk → un po' di latte
little money → pochi soldi
with little difficulty → senza fatica or difficoltà
to see/do little → non vedere/fare molto, vedere/fare molto poco
we did what little we could → abbiamo fatto quel poco che abbiamo potuto
little or nothing → poco o nulla
that has little to do with it! → questo c'entra ben poco!
as little as £5 → soltanto 5 sterline
to make little of sth (fail to understand) → capire poco di qc (belittle) → tenere qc in poco conto, dare poca importanza a qc
little by little → poco a poco
a little too big → un po' troppo grande
a little longer → un po' più a lungo
we were a little surprised → eravamo un po' sorpresi
a little more milk → un po' più di latte
a little more → ancora un po'
it's little better → non va molto meglio
as little as possible → il meno possibile
little more than a month ago → appena più di un mese fa
I like it as little as you do → non mi piace più di quanto piaccia a te
little does he know that ... → quello di cui non si rende conto è che...
a little means `some', `a small quantity': There's a little milk left .