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English definition of “little”

little

adjective uk   /ˈlɪt.l̩/ us    /ˈlɪt̬-/

little adjective (SMALL)

A1 small in size or amount: It came in a little box. a little dog/nose/room A little old man came into the shop. He gave a little smile. It'll only take a little while to clear up the kitchen.SmallExtremely smallSmall in number and quantity a little something a small amount of food or drink: I always like to have a little something around eleven o'clock in the morning.Meals and parts of meals a present that is not of great value: I want to buy a little something to give to Val when I visit her in hospital.Presents and giftsGifts in the form of money

little adjective (YOUNG)

A1 young: When you were little your hair was really curly. She was my little (= younger) sister and I took care of her. Her little boy (= her young son) isn't well.Describing people who are young

little adjective (EMPHASIZE)

B2 [before noun] used to emphasize an opinion that is being given about something or someone: That was a nice little suit she was wearing. It's not a bad little restaurant, this, is it? He's a nasty little man.Very and extremeComplete and wholeIntensifying expressions

little adjective (UNIMPORTANT)

B1 [before noun] not very important or serious: I had a little problem with my car, but it's been fixed now. It's often the little things that count the most. Can I have a little word (= a short discussion about something not very important) with you?Of little or less importance

little

determiner uk   /ˈlɪt.l̩/ us    /ˈlɪt̬-/

little determiner (NOT ENOUGH)

B1 not much or enough: There seems little hope of a ceasefire. They have very little money. There's so little choice.Scarce, inadequate and not enoughLacking things

little determiner (SMALL AMOUNT)

a little B1 a small amount of something: This sauce needs a little salt. With a little training she could do very well. Can I give you a little advice?Words meaning small pieces and amounts

little

pronoun, noun uk   /ˈlɪt.l̩/ us    /ˈlɪt̬-/

little pronoun, noun (SMALL AMOUNT)

B1 [S] a small amount: I could only hear a little of what they were saying. He does as little as possible at work. There's not much flour left but you're welcome to the/what little there is.Words meaning small pieces and amounts

little pronoun, noun (NOT ENOUGH)

B1 an amount that is not much or not enough: We did very little on Sunday. Very little of what he said made any sense to me. Unfortunately, little of the artist's work has survived. The government has done little or nothing to help the poorest people in this country. The little we do know about the people who lived here suggests they had a very sophisticated society.Scarce, inadequate and not enoughLacking things

little

adverb uk   /ˈlɪt.l̩/ us    /ˈlɪt̬-/

little adverb (SMALL AMOUNT)

a little (bit) A2 slightly: I was a little bit worried by what she said. We'll wait a little longer and then I'll phone them. There's only a little further to go.Some and quite little by little B2 slowly or gradually: Little by little she came to understand why he had behaved the way he did.Slow and moving slowly

little adverb (NOT MUCH)

C1 not much: She slept very little that night. a little-known fact Little did he know what lay in store for him.Scarce, inadequate and not enoughLacking things little more/better C2 not much more or better: The wine they gave us was little better than vinegar.
(Definition of little from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
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