little

little
lit|tle1 [ `lıtl ] (comparative less [ les ] ; superlative least [ list ] ) function word, quantifier ***
Little can be used in the following ways:
as a determiner (followed by a noun):
There's little time left.
Little progress has been made.
as a pronoun:
They have very little, but what they have, they share. (after a ):
Yes, I'd like some tea but just a little. (followed by of ):
Little of the original building has survived.
Can I take a little of this sugar? (after the ):
The little I know won't be of much use to you.
as an adverb:
I go there very little.
I'm little affected by the cold. (after a ):
He talked a little about his childhood.
1. ) a very small amount
a ) used for referring to an extremely small amount of something:
There is little time to prepare for the exams.
She has done little today besides sleep.
Little has been revealed about his background.
little of: Jordan has lost little of his Southern accent.
very little: He's an excellent manager, so there's very little tension in the office.
too little: There was too much rain and too little sun.
so little: I've got so much to do and so little time to do it in.
little or no: She had trained herself to show little or no emotion, no matter what happened.
as little as possible: He always tries to pay the workers as little as possible.
the little: He didn't earn much money, and he gambled away the little he had saved.
b ) as little as used before an amount for showing how small it is, when this is surprising:
It takes as little as four seconds for a car thief to break into a car.
2. ) not very often or much not very often or only to a small degree:
very little: In her last years I saw her very little.
Our relationship has changed very little over the years.
as little as possible: They spoke of him as little as possible.
little known (=not known by many people): Kang was little known outside of China.
little more/better: You accused me of being little better than a thief (=almost as bad as a thief).
a little
1. ) a small amount:
We managed to save a little money.
With a little luck, you might write the next best-seller!
a little (bit) of something: Mix in a little of the flour to make the liquid thicker.
Doesn't Helen speak a little bit of Chinese?
just a little: She needs some help just a little, anyway.
a little (bit) more/less: I think I have a little more patience than you.
I wish there was a little bit less noise around here.
2. ) to a small degree:
It makes me a little frightened when I think of what might happen.
I held her a little closer.
She was a little disappointed with the job.
a little bit: This may be a little bit painful.
3. ) for a short time:
I stopped and waited for him a little.
a little bit: Come talk with me for a little bit.
do little to help/solve/stop etc.
to fail to help someone/solve something etc.:
The company did little to prevent the disaster.
He's done little to improve my opinion of him.
(just) that little bit easier/more comfortable etc. MAINLY BRITISH SPOKEN
easier/more comfortable etc. by a small but important amount:
The sight of her always makes me feel that little bit happier.
little by little
very gradually:
Little by little his eyes adjusted to the light.
little does someone know/think/realize
used for saying that someone does not know/think/realize that something is true:
Little did I realize I would one day be in charge of the office.
more than a little/not a little FORMAL
a large amount, or to a large degree:
They had sincere respect for her, and not a little affection.
The team was more than a little unlucky to lose by just one point.
little
lit|tle 2 [ `lıtl ] adjective ***
▸ 1 small in size/number
▸ 2 short in time/distance
▸ 3 young (and small)
▸ 4 controlled
▸ 5 (not) important
▸ + PHRASES
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
a ) used in a positive way for referring to small people or things that you like:
a little old lady
nice/pretty/cute/sweet little: a pretty little house in the country
poor little: Poor little thing, you must be starving.
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/snotty/silly/stupid little: She wrote me a nasty little letter.
2. ) short in distance or time only before noun
a ) continuing for a short distance:
Molly carried her a little way toward the house.
b ) lasting a short time:
a little while: I'll be with you in a little while.
3. ) young, and often small. This word is used especially by children or when talking to children:
a little boy/girl/child
When I was little, we didn't have computers in school.
a ) someone's little boy/girl someone's son/daughter who is still a small child or treated as if they are a small child:
You'll always be Daddy's little girl.
b ) someone's little brother/sister someone's younger brother/sister:
Is this your little brother?
─ opposite BIG
4. ) controlled and involving a small amount of movement, effort, or emotion:
a little smile/laugh
Jules said goodnight with a formal little bow.
5. ) not important: MINOR:
He gets upset at the least little thing.
There are just some little details to sort out.
a ) used in a humorous way for referring to something you really think is important:
We may have a little problem explaining that to our customers.
the little matter of something: Then there's the little matter of my fee.
a little bird told me SPOKEN
used for saying that you are not going to say who told you something:
A little bird told me you have a new job.
a little something INFORMAL
a present that you give someone to thank them, that is not very expensive:
It's just a little something to show how much we appreciate your help.
the little woman SPOKEN
an insulting way of referring to someone's wife
quite the little... SPOKEN
used when you are annoyed about what someone has done and want to make it seem less important:
Quite the little hero, aren't you?

Usage of the words and phrases in modern English. 2013.

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