small Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary Cambridge dictionaries logo

Meaning of “small” in the English Dictionary

"small" in British English

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smalladjective

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 ​ratherlive in a small ​town than a ​bigcity. Would you like a ​large or small ​cola with ​yourburger? 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.

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  • small adjective (YOUNG)

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

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  • 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 ​limitedsize). Chris is a small eater so he won't ​want much. If you can ​help us in a small way (= to a ​limiteddegree) it would be ​greatlyappreciated.
  • small adjective (LETTER SIZE)

[before noun] Small ​letters are not ​capitalletters: The ​poet e. e. cummings ​wrote his ​name with small ​letters, not ​capitalletters.
smallness
noun [U] uk   /ˈsmɔːl.nəs/  us   /ˈsmɑːl-/
The smallness of the ​city often ​surprises first-time ​visitors.

smalladverb

uk   /smɔːl/  us   /smɑːl/

smallnoun

uk   /smɔːl/  us   /smɑːl/
(Definition of small from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"small" in American English

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smalladjective

 us   /smɔl/
  • small adjective (LESS)

[-er/-est only] not ​big; less in ​size or ​amount than is ​average: a small ​business small ​lunches He’s small for his ​age. Those ​jackets come in small, ​medium, and ​largesizes. [-er/-est only] Small (abbreviation S) is a ​size of ​clothing or other ​product that is smaller than ​average: Those ​sweaters are ​available in small, ​medium, and ​large (​sizes).small of your back The small of ​your back is the back below the ​waist where it ​curves in ​slightly.
  • small adjective (YOUNG)

[-er/-est only] (of ​children) very ​young: His ​motherdied when he was small.
  • small adjective (LACKING IMPORTANCE)

[-er/-est only] not having much ​importance or ​effect: a small ​problem a small ​part in a ​movie
  • small adjective (LETTER SIZE)

[not gradable] (of a ​letter of the ​alphabet) lowercase

smalladverb [-er/-est only]

 us   /smɔl/
in small ​pieces, or in a ​size or ​amount that is less than ​average: The ​ingredients are ​printed so small I can ​hardlyread them.
(Definition of small from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

"small" in Business English

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smalladjective

uk   us   /smɔːl/
limited in ​size, ​amount, ​activity, etc.: Loans ​help small ​firmsfundtraining. The ​company made a small ​profit last ​year.
not very important or likely to cause problems: Verna said the ​reviewteam would not mire itself in such small details. In the ​constructionindustry, small mistakes can become multi-million ​dollar problems.
(Definition of small from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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“small” in Business English

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