little Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary
Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

Meaning of “little” in the English Dictionary

"little" in British English

See all translations

littleadjective

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 ​room. He gave a little ​smile. It'll only take a little while to ​clear up the ​kitchen.a little something a ​smallamount of ​food or ​drink: I always like to have a little something around eleven o'clock in the ​morning. a ​present that is not of ​greatvalue: I ​want to ​buy a little something to give to Val when I ​visit her in ​hospital.
More examples

little adjective (YOUNG)

A1 young: When you were little ​yourhair was really ​curly. She was my little (= ​younger)sister and I took ​care of her. Her little ​boy (= her ​youngson) isn't well.
More examples

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, is it? He's a ​nasty little man.
More examples

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 ​shortdiscussion about something not very ​important) with you?

littledeterminer

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.
More examples

little determiner (SMALL AMOUNT)

a little B1 a ​smallamount of something: This ​sauceneeds a little ​salt. With a little ​training she could do very well. Can I give you a little ​advice?

littlepronoun, noun

uk   /ˈlɪt.l̩/  us   /ˈlɪt̬-/

little pronoun, noun (SMALL AMOUNT)

B1 [S] a ​smallamount: I could only ​hear a little of what they were saying. He does as little as ​possible at ​work. There's not much ​flourleft but you're ​welcome to the/what little there is.
More examples
  • We ​ate a little of the ​bread.
  • He gave us a little of his ​money.
  • I already ​knew a little of what he had to say.
  • She ​eats as little as she can.
  • You can ​see what little I have.

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 ​poorestpeople in this ​country. The little we do ​know about the ​people who ​lived here ​suggests they had a very ​sophisticatedsociety.
More examples

littleadverb

uk   /ˈlɪt.l̩/  us   /ˈlɪt̬-/

little adverb (SMALL AMOUNT)

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

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.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 Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"little" in American English

See all translations

littleadjective

 us   /ˈlɪt̬·əl/

little adjective (SMALL)

[-er/-est only] small in ​size or ​amount, or ​brief in ​time: She has a little ​room on the ​topfloor where she ​works on her ​computer. They have very little ​money. It’ll take me a little while ​longer to get ​ready. [-er/-est only] Little can be used with ​approving words for ​emphasis: They have a ​nice little ​house.

little adjective (YOUNG)

[-er/-est only] young: When you were little, you and ​yourbrother were always ​fighting. My little ​brother/​sister (= ​youngerbrother or ​sister) is seven ​yearsold. He ​stayedhome from ​work today because his little ​boy/​girl (= ​youngson or ​daughter) is ​sick.

little adjective (NOT IMPORTANT)

[not gradable] not ​important or not ​serious: I had a little ​problem with my ​car, but it’s ​fixed now.

littleadverb

 us   /ˈlɪt̬·əl/ (comparative less  /les/ , superlative least  /list/ )

little adverb (NOT MUCH)

not much: The ​county has done little to ​improve the ​trafficproblem. It’s a little-known ​fact that ​technicallyticks are not ​insects.a little A little ​meansslightly: She was a little ​frightened. You’re ​walking a little too ​fast for me.

littlepronoun, noun [U]

 us   /ˈlɪt̬·əl/

little pronoun, noun [U] (SMALL)

a ​smallamount: I could ​understand very little of what he said.a little A little ​means a ​smallamount of something: "Do we have any ​sugarleft?" "A little."
(Definition of little from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of little?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website
Word of the Day

golden

made of gold

Word of the Day

Introducing a new author and a new weekly blog post!
Introducing a new author and a new weekly blog post!
by Cambridge Dictionaries Online,
August 27, 2015
The English language is constantly changing. You know that. But did you know that at Cambridge Dictionaries Online we keep track of the changes? We continually add new words and new meanings to our online dictionary for learners of English. Some of them are new to English entirely (neologisms), and some

Read More 

hyperpalatable adjective
hyperpalatable adjective
August 24, 2015
describes food with heightened levels of sugar and salt, intended to be extremely appealing In Brazil, where the prevalence of overweight and obese adults has doubled since 1980, crisps, biscuits, energy bars and sugary drinks formulated to be ‘hyper-palatable’ are much more widely eaten than previously.

Read More