Lit"tle (?), a. [The regular comparative of this word is wanting, its place being supplied by less, or, rarely, lesser. See Lesser. For the superlative least is used, the regular form, littlest, occurring very rarely, except in some of the English provinces, and occasionally in colloquial language. " Where love is great, the littlest doubts are fear." Shak.] [OE. litel, lutel, AS. l&?;tel, lItel, l&?;t; akin to OS. littil, D. luttel, LG. lütt, OHG. luzzil, MHG. lützel; and perh. to AS. lytig deceitful, lot deceit, Goth. liuts deceitful, lut&?;n to deceive; cf. also Icel. lItill little, Sw. liten, Dan. liden, lille, Goth. leitils, which appear to have a different root vowel.]

1.

Small in size or extent; not big; diminutive; -- opposed to big or large; as, a little body; a little animal; a little piece of ground; a little hill; a little distance; a little child.

He sought to see Jesus who he was; and could not for the press, because he was little of stature.
Luke xix. 3.

2.

Short in duration; brief; as, a little sleep.

Best him enough: after a little time,
I'll beat him too.
Shak.

3.

Small in quantity or amount; not much; as, a little food; a little air or water.

Conceited of their little wisdoms, and doting upon their own fancies.
Barrow.

4.

Small in dignity, power, or importance; not great; insignificant; contemptible.

When thou wast little in thine own sight, wast thou not made the head of the tribes?
I Sam. xv. 17.

5.

Small in force or efficiency; not strong; weak; slight; inconsiderable; as, little attention or exertion;little effort; little care or diligence.

By sad experiment I know
How little weight my words with thee can find.
Milton.

6.

Small in extent of views or sympathies; narrow; shallow; contracted; mean; illiberal; ungenerous.

The long-necked geese of the world that are ever hissing dispraise,
Because their natures are little.
Tennyson.

Little chief. (Zoöl.) See Chief hare. --
Little finger, the fourth and smallest finger of the hand. --
Little go (Eng. Universities), a public examination about the middle of the course, which is less strict and important than the final one; -- called also smalls. Cf. Great go, under Great. Thackeray. --
Little hours (R. C. Ch.), the offices of prime, tierce, sext, and nones. Vespers and compline are sometimes included. --
Little ones, young children.

The men, and the women, and the little ones.
Deut. ii. 34.

 

© Webster 1913


Lit"tle, n.

1.

That which is little; a small quantity, amount, space, or the like.

Much was in little writ.
Dryden.

There are many expressions, which carrying with them no clear ideas, are like to remove but little of my ignorance.
Locke.

2.

A small degree or scale; miniature. " His picture in little." Shak.

A little, to or in a small degree; to a limited extent; somewhat; for a short time. " Stay a little."
Shak.

The painter flattered her a little.
Shak.

--
By little and little, or Little by little, by slow degrees; piecemeal; gradually.

 

© Webster 1913


Lit"tle, adv.

In a small quantity or degree; not much; slightly; somewhat; -- often with a preceding it. " The poor sleep little." Otway.

 

© Webster 1913


Lit"tle, a. --
Little Englander, an Englishman opposed to territorial expansion of the British Empire. See Antiimperialism, above. Hence: Little Englandism. --
Little-neck clam, or Little neck (Zoöl.), the quahog, or round clam. --
Little peach, a disease of peaches in which the fruit is much dwarfed, and the leaves grow small and thin. The cause is not known. --
Little Rhod"y (&?;), Rhode Island; -- a nickname alluding to its small size. It is the smallest State of the United States. --
Little Sisters of the Poor (R. C. Ch.), an order of women who care for old men and women and infirm poor, for whom special houses are built. It was established at St. Servan, Britany, France, in 1840, by the Abbé Le Pailleur. --
Little slam (Bridge Whist), the winning of 12 out of the 13 tricks. It counts 20 points on the honor score.

 

© Webster 1913

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