- adverbto a small degree; somewhat (Freq. 80)-
it's a bit warm-
felt a little better-
a trifle smaller
* * *◊ 'little' used as an adjectiveLittle is usually used as an adjective. You use it to talk about the size of something.
...a little table with a glass top.See entry at ↑ small - little.\◊ 'a little' used as an adverbA little is usually used as an adverb. You use it after a verb, or in front of an adjective or another adverb. It means `to a small extent or degree'.
The economy is expected to slow down a little.
Trading is thought to have been a little disappointing.
The local football team is doing a little better.\
The celebrations began a little earlier than expected.Note that you do not use a little in front of an adjective when the adjective comes in front of a noun.\Several other words and expressions can be used to express degree. For a graded list, see section on degree in entry at ↑ Adverbials. See also section on submodifiers in entry at ↑ Adverbs.\◊ used in front of nounsLittle and a little are also used in front of nouns to talk about quantities. When they are used like this, they do not have the same meaning.\You use a little simply to indicate that you are talking about a small quantity or amount of something. When you use little without `a', you are emphasizing that there is only a small quantity or amount of something.\So, for example, if you say `I have a little money', you are simply saying that you have some money. However, if you say `I have little money', you mean that you do not have enough money.
I had made a little progress.
It is clear that little progress was made.
He started a new business with a little help from his friends.\
Having an independent allowance will be little help.◊ used as pronounsLittle and a little can be used in similar ways as pronouns.
Beat in the eggs, a little at a time.\
Little has changed.◊ 'not much'In conversation, people do not usually use little without `a'. Instead they use not much. For example, instead of saying `I have little money', they say `I haven't got much money' or `I don't have much money'.
I haven't got much appetite.
You haven't got much to say to me, have you?
We probably don't have much time.\
You don't have much contact with other people.◊ WARNINGYou do not use little or a little when you are talking about a small number of people or things. You do not say, for example, `She has a little hens'. You say `She has a few hens'. Similarly, you do not say `Little people attended his lectures'. You say `Few people attended his lectures', or `Not many people attended his lectures'. See entry at ↑ few - a few.\
* * *a little1 : not much but some
I don't want much: I want just a little bit/piece.
There's a little brown sugar in these cookies.
I have a little money, so I may be able to lend you some.
They offered him a little something to drink before dinner. [=they offered him something to drink]
There was more than a little sadness [=there was much sadness] in his voice.2 : not much but somewhat or slightly
It bothered me a little.
His house is down the street a little further.
His house is down the street a little. = It's a little down the street.
I'm feeling a little better today.
Repairs will begin in a little [=slightly] more than a month.
He was not a little annoyed [=he was very annoyed] at the interruption.
Her vision of the future was more than a little upsetting. [=was very upsetting]3 : for a brief time
Please stay here with me a little.
We can walk a little and then catch a cab.4 : a small amount or quantity
They don't understand much but they do understand a little.
They understand more than a little of what is going on. [=they understand much of what is going on]
Don't use too much of this. A little goes a long way. [=a small amount will be enough]• • •Main Entry: ↑little
Useful english dictionary. 2012.
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