Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

little - definition and synonyms

What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.

Thesaurus diagram

The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

adjective     little pronunciation in British English
Word Forms
  1. 1
    [usually before noun] small in size or number

    Use the little pan for making the sauce.

    There’s a little group of us who meet once a week.

    a little bit of something:

    Little bits of hay still clung to her skirt.

    little tiny/tiny little:

    There’s a little tiny crack in it.

    a tiny little garden

    Synonyms and related words
    1. a.
      used in a positive way for referring to small people or things that you like

      a little old lady

      nice/pretty/cute/sweet/lovely little:

      a pretty little cottage in the country

      poor little:

      Poor little thing, you must be starving!

      Synonyms and related words
    2. b.
      used in a negative way for referring to small people or things that you do not like

      You little brat!

      one of those narrow-minded little racists

      nasty/cheeky/silly/stupid little:

      She wrote me a nasty little letter.

      Synonyms and related words
  2. 2
    young, and often small. This word is used mainly by children or when speaking to children

    a little boy/girl/child

    When I was little, we didn’t have computers at school.

  3. 3
    [only before noun] lasting a short time
    a little while:

    I’ll be with you in a little while.

    1. a.
      continuing for a short distance

      Molly carried her a little way towards the house.

  4. 4
    not important

    He gets upset at the least little thing.

    There are just some little details to sort out.

  5. 5
    controlled and involving a small amount of movement, effort, or emotion

    a little smile/laugh

    Jules said goodnight with a formal little bow.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter


a lifestyle focussing on simple pleasures such as comfort and cosiness in the home, and spending time with friends and family

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary


a form of location that involves the underwater detonation of a bomb which causes sound waves that are picked up by ships

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog
Macmillan learn live love play