adj. small·er, small·est
a. Being below average in size: a small car.
b. Being below average in quantity or extent: a small donation; a small project.
2. Limited in importance or significance; trivial: a small matter.
3. Having limited position, influence, or status; minor: "A crowd of small writers had vainly attempted to rival Addison" (Thomas Macaulay).
4. Unpretentious; modest: made a small living; helped the cause in my own small way.
5. Not fully grown; very young: a small child.
6. Narrow in outlook; petty: a small mind.
7. Having been belittled; humiliated: Their comments made me feel small.
8. Diluted; weak. Used of alcoholic beverages.
9. Lacking force or volume: a small voice.
10. Lowercase: Type the password in small letters.
1. In small pieces: Cut the meat up small.
2. Without loudness or forcefulness; softly.
3. In a small manner.
1. A part that is smaller or narrower than the rest: the small of the back.
a. Small things considered as a group.
b. Chiefly British Small items of clothing.
[Middle English smal, from Old English smæl.]
Synonyms: small, diminutive, little, miniature, minuscule, minute2, petite, tiny, wee1
These adjectives mean being notably below the average in size or magnitude: a small house; diminutive in stature; little hands; a miniature camera; a minuscule amount of rain; minute errors; a petite figure; tiny feet; a wee puppy.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.