[ˈlɪt(ə)l] (comparative less [les] ; superlative least [liːst] ) grammar word I
Little can be: ■ a determiner: Little progress has been made. ■ a pronoun: They manage to survive on very little. ■ an adverb: I go there very little.
1) an extremely small amount of something
They made little effort to explain.[/ex]
Little has been revealed about his background.[/ex]
He's an excellent manager, so there's very little tension in the office.[/ex]
There was too much rain and too little sun.[/ex]
The company did little to prevent the disaster.[/ex]
2) not very often, or only to a small degree
In her last years I saw her very little.[/ex]
They spoke of him as little as possible.[/ex]
a little known fact (= not known by many people)[/ex]
a little — 1) a small amount[/ex]
We managed to save a little money.[/ex]
Mix in a little of the flour.[/ex]
Doesn't Helen speak a little bit of Chinese?[/ex]
I have a little more patience than you.[/ex]

— 2) to a small degree

I held her a little closer.[/ex]
This may be a little bit painful.[/ex]

— 3) for a short time

You should rest a little.[/ex]
Come and talk with me for a little bit.[/ex]
little by little — very gradually[/ex]
Little by little his eyes adjusted to the light.[/ex]
Little and a little are both used for talking about a small amount of something. But they have slightly different meanings. ■ Little means ‘not much' or ‘not enough', and is used when you would like there to be more of something: There is little hope of finding survivors. ♦ There has been little change since this morning. ■ A little means ‘some', and is used for emphasizing that an amount is small, but greater than you might expect: There is still a little time to finish the game. ♦ I had a little money left so I took a taxi. II
little */*/*/[ˈlɪt(ə)l]
1) small in size or number
Use the little pan for making the sauce.[/ex]
There's a little group of us who meet once a week.[/ex]
a tiny little garden[/ex]
2) young, and often small
a little boy/girl/child[/ex]
When I was little, we didn't have computers at school.[/ex]
Is this your little brother (= younger brother)?[/ex]
My little girl (= my daughter) is three years old.[/ex]
3) short in time or distance
Molly carried her a little way towards the house.[/ex]
I'll be with you in a little while.[/ex]
4) not important
There are just some little details to sort out.[/ex]

Dictionary for writing and speaking English. 2014.

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