• Small


    • UK IPA: /smɔːl/
    • Rhymes: -ɔːl
    • US IPA: /smɔl/
    • cot-caught IPA: /smɑl/


    From Middle English smal, from Old English smæl ("small, narrow, slender"), from Proto-Germanic *smalaz ("small"), from Proto-Indo-European *(s)mal-, *(s)mel- ("small, mean, malicious"). Cognate with Scots smal; sma ("small"); West Frisian smel ("narrow"); Dutch smal ("narrow"); German schmal ("narrow, small"); Danish, Norwegian, Swedish små ("small"); Latin malus ("bad"); Russian малый (mályj, "small").

    Full definition of small



    1. Not large or big; insignificant; few in numbers or size.
      • 1918, W. B. Maxwell, The Mirror and the Lamp Chapter 5, Here, in the transept and choir, where the service was being held, one was conscious every moment of an increasing brightness; colours glowing vividly beneath the circular chandeliers, and the rows of small lights on the choristers' desks flashed and sparkled in front of the boys' faces, deep linen collars, and red neckbands.
      • 2013-06-22, Engineers of a different kind, Private-equity nabobs bristle at being dubbed mere financiers. Piling debt onto companies’ balance-sheets is only a small part of what leveraged buy-outs are about, they insist. Improving the workings of the businesses they take over is just as core to their calling, if not more so. Much of their pleading is public-relations bluster.
    2. A small serving of ice cream.
      A small group.
      He made us all feel small.
    3. (figuratively) Young, as a child.
      Remember when the children were small?
    4. (writing, incomparable) Minuscule or lowercase, referring to written letters.
    5. Envincing little worth or ability; not large-minded; paltry; mean.
      • CarlyleA true delineation of the smallest man is capable of interesting the greatest man.
    6. Not prolonged in duration; not extended in time; short.a small space of time





    1. In a small fashion.
    2. In or into small pieces.
      • 2009, Ingrid Hoffman, CBS Early Morning for September 28, 2009 (transcription)That's going to go in there. We've got some chives small chopped as well.
    3. (obsolete) To a small extent.

    Derived terms



    (plural smalls)
    1. Any part of something that is smaller or slimmer than the rest, now usually with anatomical reference to the back.
    2. (UK, in the plural) Underclothes.

    Derived terms


    1. (obsolete, transitive) To make little or less.
    2. (intransitive) To become small; to dwindle.
      • Thomas HardyAnd smalled till she was nought at all.


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