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small definition


This page has 21 definitions of small with English translations in 4 languages. Small is an adjective, an adverb, noun and verb. Examples of how to use small in a sentence are shown. Also define these 0 related words and terms: .

See also: Small and smäll

English small definition



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 smal (narrow; thin; slender); Latin malus (bad); Russian ма́лый (mályj, small).


small (comparative smaller, superlative smallest)

  1. Not large or big; insignificant; few in number.
    • 1918, W. B. Maxwell, chapter 5, in The Mirror and the Lamp:
      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 June 22, “Engineers of a different kind”, in The Economist, volume 407, number 8841, page 70:
      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.
    A small serving of ice cream.
    A small group.
    He made us all feel small.
  2. (figuratively) Young, as a child.
    Remember when the children were small?
  3. (writing, incomparable) Minuscule or lowercase, referring to written or printed letters.
    • 1959, Anthony Burgess, Beds in the East (The Malayan Trilogy), published 1972, page 584:
      "I've got catholic tastes. Catholic with a small "c", of course."
  4. Evincing little worth or ability; not large-minded; paltry; mean.
  5. Not prolonged in duration; not extended in time; short.
    a small space of time
  6. (archaic) Slender, gracefully slim.



Derived terms



small (comparative smaller, superlative smallest)

  1. In a small fashion
    Don't write very small!
  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.
  4. (obsolete) In a low tone; softly.

Derived terms


small (plural smalls)

  1. (rare) Any part of something that is smaller or slimmer than the rest, now usually with anatomical reference to the back.

Derived terms


small (third-person singular simple present smalls, present participle smalling, simple past and past participle smalled)

  1. (obsolete, transitive) To make little or less.
  2. (intransitive) To become small; to dwindle.


Icelandic small definition


small (strong)

  1. first-person singular past indicative of smella
  2. third-person singular past indicative of smella

Low German small definition


From Middle Low German smal, from Old Saxon smal, from Proto-Germanic *smalaz. Cognate with German schmal, Dutch smal, English small.


small (comparative smaller, superlative smallst)

  1. narrow
  2. small, slender