Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “small”

See all translations

small

adjective uk   /smɔːl/ us    /smɑːl/

small adjective (LITTLE)

A1 little in size or amount when compared with what is typical or average: a small dog/house/car/country I'd rather live in a small town than a big city. Would you like a large or small cola with your burger? Ella is the smallest girl in her class. That jacket's too small for you. He's small for his age. Only a small number of applicants are successful. The number of women in parliament is pitifully (= extremely) small. Liqueurs are usually drunk in small quantities.
More examples

small adjective (YOUNG)

A1 A small child is a very young child that is older than a baby: Taking care of small children can be very tiring.
More examples

small adjective (LIMITED ACTIVITY)

[before noun] limited in the amount of an activity: The government should give more help to small businessmen (= people whose businesses are of a limited size). Chris is quite a small eater so he won't want much. If you can help us in a small way (= to a limited degree) it would be greatly appreciated.

small adjective (NOT IMPORTANT)

A2 not very important or not likely to cause problems: She just made a couple of small mistakes in the test. I have a small problem I would like to discuss with you.

small adjective (ASHAMED)

ashamed or weak: Talking to her makes me feel small. He's always trying to make me look small in front of my boss.

small adjective (LETTER SIZE)

[before noun] Small letters are not capital letters: The poet e. e. cummings wrote his name with small letters, not capital letters. UK A conservative with a small "c" is someone who has traditional values, such as disliking change in society, rather than being a member or supporter of the Conservative Party. We can use this structure with other words to say something is more general or less extreme than the usual meaning: Management is all about politics with a small "p".
smallness
noun [U] uk   /ˈsmɔːl.nəs/ us    /ˈsmɑːl-/
The smallness of the city often surprises first-time visitors.

small

adverb uk   /smɔːl/ us    /smɑːl/
in a small size: The instructions are printed so small I can hardly read them.

small

noun uk   /smɔːl/ us    /smɑːl/

small noun (UNDERWEAR)

smalls [plural] UK old-fashioned informal underwear, especially when being washed or about to be washed: Do you have any smalls that need washing?

small noun (BODY)

the small of your back the middle of the lower back: I have a pain in the small of my back.
(Definition of small from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of small?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Definitions of “small” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

christmassy

typical of Christmas, or happy because it is Christmas

Word of the Day

Cleavage proves divisive in Cambridge’s words of 2014

by Alastair Horne,
December 19, 2014
​​​​ Other dictionaries may choose faddish novelties as their words of the year, but here at Cambridge, we like to do something different. We look for the words that have seen sudden surges in searches over the course of the year – words that have been baffling users of English and driven them

Read More 

tweleb noun

December 22, 2014
informal a Twitter celebrity; (more specifically, someone who has more than 1,000 followers on Twitter) There were a few old and a few new faces, including a tweleb or two. Expect to see and hear more from these cool kids.

Read More