Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Being below the average in size or magnitude.
  • adj. Limited in importance or significance; trivial: a small matter.
  • adj. Limited in degree or scope: small farm operations.
  • adj. Lacking position, influence, or status; minor: "A crowd of small writers had vainly attempted to rival Addison” ( Thomas Macaulay).
  • adj. Unpretentious; modest: made a small living; helped the cause in my own small way.
  • adj. Not fully grown; very young.
  • adj. Narrow in outlook; petty: a small mind.
  • adj. Having been belittled; humiliated: Their comments made me feel small.
  • adj. Diluted; weak. Used of alcoholic beverages.
  • adj. Lacking force or volume: a small voice.
  • adv. In small pieces: Cut the meat up small.
  • adv. Without loudness or forcefulness; softly.
  • adv. In a small manner.
  • n. A part that is smaller or narrower than the rest: the small of the back.
  • n. Small things considered as a group.
  • n. Chiefly British Small items of clothing.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Not large or big; insignificant; few in numbers or size.
  • adj. Young, as a child.
  • adj. Minuscule or lowercase, referring to written letters.
  • adv. this sense?) In a small fashion.
  • adv. In or into small pieces.
  • adv. To a small extent.
  • n. Any part of something that is smaller or slimmer than the rest, now usually with anatomical reference to the back.
  • n. Underclothes.
  • v. To make little or less.
  • v. To become small; to dwindle.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Having little size, compared with other things of the same kind; little in quantity or degree; diminutive; not large or extended in dimension; not great; not much; inconsiderable.
  • adj. Being of slight consequence; feeble in influence or importance; unimportant; trivial; insignificant.
  • adj. Envincing little worth or ability; not large-minded; -- sometimes, in reproach, paltry; mean.
  • adj. Not prolonged in duration; not extended in time; short.
  • adj. Weak; slender; fine; gentle; soft; not loud.
  • adv. In or to small extent, quantity, or degree; little; slightly.
  • adv. Not loudly; faintly; timidly.
  • n. The small or slender part of a thing.
  • n. Smallclothes.
  • n. Same as Little go. See under Little, a.
  • transitive v. To make little or less.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Slender; thin; narrow.
  • Little in size; not great or large; of less than average or ordinary dimensions; diminutive.
  • Little or inferior in degree, quantity, amount, duration, number, value, etc.; short (in time or extent); narrow, etc.
  • Low, as applied to station, social position, etc.
  • Being of little moment, weight, or importance; trivial; insignificant; petty; trifling: as, it is a small matter or thing; a small subject.
  • Of little genius, ability, or force of character; petty; insignificant.
  • Containing little of the principal quality, or little strength; weak: as, small beer.
  • Thin: applied to tones or to the voice.
  • Gentle; soft; faint; not loud.
  • Characterized by littleness of mind or character; evincing little worth; narrow-minded; sordid; selfish; ungenerous; mean; base; unworthy.
  • Having little property; carrying on a business on a small scale.
  • Meager in quantity, as a body of water: an anglers' epithet: as, the water is too small to use the fly.
  • Noting the condition of the cutting edge of a saw as condensed by hammering: same as tight.
  • Unostentatiously; without pretension.
  • Synonyms Smaller, Fewer (see less), tiny, puny, stunted, Lilliputian, minute.
  • Inconsiderable, unimportant, slender, scanty, moderate, paltry, slight, feeble.
  • Shallow. See pettiness.
  • Illiberal, stingy, scrimping.
  • n. A small thing or quantity; also, the small or slender part of a thing: as, the small of the leg or of the back; specifically, the smallest part of the trunk of a whale; the tapering part toward, near, or at the base of the flukes.
  • n. plural Same as small-clothes.
  • n. plural The “little go,” or previous examination: as, to be plucked for smalls.
  • n. plural In coal-mining, same as small coal (see above).
  • n. plural In metal-mining, ore mixed with gangue in particles of small size: a term used with various shades of meaning in certain districts of England.
  • To make little or less; lessen.
  • In a small quantity or degree; little.
  • Low; in low tones; gently; timidly; also, in a shrill or high key.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. the slender part of the back
  • adj. slight or limited; especially in degree or intensity or scope
  • adj. (of children and animals) young, immature
  • adj. have fine or very small constituent particles
  • adj. lowercase
  • adv. on a small scale
  • adj. limited or below average in number or quantity or magnitude or extent
  • adj. made to seem smaller or less (especially in worth)
  • adj. not large but sufficient in size or amount
  • adj. (of a voice) faint
  • adj. low or inferior in station or quality
  • adj. limited in size or scope
  • n. a garment size for a small person

Etymologies

Middle English smal, from Old English smæl.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
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"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

Comments

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  • "But we should understand that for many ideas enabled by the Internet, small is the new big." -- January 3, 2008, 3:45 pm
    Twitter, Firefox and Big Ideas That Are Small Companies

    By Saul Hansell
    NY TIMES Tags: Business Models, firefox, microblogging, Mozilla, twitter

    February 6, 2008

  • In my household, we refer to the pocket-pets (rodents) this way. To differentiate from our "medium", which is the cat, and the "larges", who are us. A feral house-mouse is, then, similarly small, little or, better tiny; and insects are tiny or wee. If we had a ferret, I suspect it would be smallish or not-quite-medium. I likewise suspect a standard dog would be larger or largish.

    December 15, 2006