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adj. small·er, small·est
a. Being below average in size: a small car.
b. Being below average in quantity or extent: a small donation; a small project.
2. Limited in importance or significance; trivial: a small matter.
3. Having limited position, influence, or status; minor: "A crowd of small writers had vainly attempted to rival Addison" (Thomas Macaulay).
4. Unpretentious; modest: made a small living; helped the cause in my own small way.
5. Not fully grown; very young: a small child.
6. Narrow in outlook; petty: a small mind.
7. Having been belittled; humiliated: Their comments made me feel small.
8. Diluted; weak. Used of alcoholic beverages.
9. Lacking force or volume: a small voice.
10. Lowercase: Type the password in small letters.
1. In small pieces: Cut the meat up small.
2. Without loudness or forcefulness; softly.
3. In a small manner.
1. A part that is smaller or narrower than the rest: the small of the back.
2. smalls
a. Small things considered as a group.
b. Chiefly British Small items of clothing.

[Middle English smal, from Old English smæl.]

small′ish adj.
small′ness n.
Synonyms: small, diminutive, little, miniature, minuscule, minute2, petite, tiny, wee1
These adjectives mean being notably below the average in size or magnitude: a small house; diminutive in stature; little hands; a miniature camera; a minuscule amount of rain; minute errors; a petite figure; tiny feet; a wee puppy.
Antonym: large
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


  1. As tiny as the glint of a silver dime in a mountain of trash —Elizabeth Spencer
  2. Big as a broom closet —Anon

    This modern colloquialism usually applies to a small living or working space. A common variation often used with “No bigger than” is “As big as a shoe box.”

  3. Big as your thumbnail —Julian Gloag
  4. He [a very short man] with his chin up, gazing about as though searching for his missing inches —Helen Hudson
  5. Small and undistinguishable, like far-off mountains turned into clouds —William Shakespeare
  6. Small as a breadcrumb —Anon
  7. Small as a fly in the fair enormity of a night sky —Elizabeth Spencer
  8. Small as a garden pea —Lawrence Durrell
  9. Small as a snail —Babette Deutsch

    The comparison describes the subject of a poem entitled The Mermaid.

  10. Small as grain of rice —Anon
  11. Small as sesame seed —Anon
  12. Small as snowflake —Anon
  13. Tight as a gnat’s cock —English expression used by engineers to describe an extremely small space
  14. (Paper ripped into pieces,) tiny as confetti —Ann Beattie
  15. (Jewelled chips) tiny as grass seed —Jayne Anne Phillips
Similes Dictionary, 1st Edition. © 1988 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.smallness - the property of having a relatively small size
size - the physical magnitude of something (how big it is); "a wolf is about the size of a large dog"
diminutiveness, minuteness, petiteness, tininess, weeness - the property of being very small in size; "hence the minuteness of detail in the painting"
slightness, delicacy - smallness of stature
grain - the smallest possible unit of anything; "there was a grain of truth in what he said"; "he does not have a grain of sense"
runtiness, stuntedness, puniness - smallness of stature
dwarfishness - smallness of stature
bigness, largeness - the property of having a relatively great size
2.smallness - the property of being a relatively small amount; "he was attracted by the smallness of the taxes"
amount - the relative magnitude of something with reference to a criterion; "an adequate amount of food for four people"
3.smallness - the property of having relatively little strength or vigor; "the smallness of her voice"
weakness - the property of lacking physical or mental strength; liability to failure under pressure or stress or strain; "his weakness increased as he became older"; "the weakness of the span was overlooked until it collapsed"
4.smallness - lack of generosity in trifling matters
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


The American Heritage® Roget's Thesaurus. Copyright © 2013, 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


[ˈsmɔːlnɪs] N
1. [of object, animal, room, hand, foot] → pequeñez f, lo chico (LAm); [of income, sum, contribution] → lo pequeño; (in height) [of person] → lo bajo, lo chaparro (LAm); [of problem] → insignificancia f; [of waist] → estrechez f; [of group, population] → lo poco numeroso; [of stock, supply] → lo reducido; [of print, writing] → pequeñez f, lo pequeño, lo menudo
2. (= small-mindedness) → estrechez f de miras
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005


nKleinheit f; (of sum, present)Bescheidenheit f; (= pettiness)Kleinlichkeit f
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007


[ˈsmɔːlnɪs] n (gen) → piccolezza; (of person) → bassa statura; (of income, sum) → scarsità
Collins Italian Dictionary 1st Edition © HarperCollins Publishers 1995
References in classic literature ?
This is a number which, I presume, will put an end to all fears arising from the smallness of the body.
When I attended the King in order to deliver the presents, after I had excused the smallness of them, as being, though unworthy his acceptance, the largest that our profession of poverty, and distance from our country, allowed us to make, he examined them one by one with a dissatisfied look, and told me that however he might be pleased with our good attentions, he thought our present such as could not be offered to a king without affronting him; and made me a sign with his hand to withdraw, and take back what I had brought.
For, viewed in this light, the wonderful comparative smallness of his brain proper is more than compensated by the wonderful comparative magnitude of his spinal cord.
He hoped they would all excuse the smallness of the party, and could assure them it should never happen so again.
There was a smallness, a daintiness, a liveliness about Elizabeth that was almost irresistible.
The dramatic instinct to which the life of towns is necessarily unfavourable, is kept alive in the country by the smallness of the stage and the fewness of the actors.
The smallness of the army renders the natural strength of the community an overmatch for it; and the citizens, not habituated to look up to the military power for protection, or to submit to its oppressions, neither love nor fear the soldiery; they view them with a spirit of jealous acquiescence in a necessary evil, and stand ready to resist a power which they suppose may be exerted to the prejudice of their rights.
I remember how, on coming up the river for the first time, I was surprised at the smallness of that vivid object - a tiny warm speck of crimson lost in an immensity of gray tones.
It was an old-fashioned place, moreover, in the moral attribute that the partners in the House were proud of its smallness, proud of its darkness, proud of its ugliness, proud of its incommodiousness.
The East room, as it had been called ever since Maria Bertram was sixteen, was now considered Fanny's, almost as decidedly as the white attic: the smallness of the one making the use of the other so evidently reasonable that the Miss Bertrams, with every superiority in their own apartments which their own sense of superiority could demand, were entirely approving it; and Mrs.
This providential relief gave them strength to pursue their journey, but they were frequently reduced to almost equal straits, and it was only the smallness of their party, requiring a small supply of provisions, that enabled them to get through this desolate region with their lives.
The smallness of the sum emphasised the hopelessness of his position.