Robert, 1839–1915, U.S. captain in the Union navy and politician, born a slave in South Carolina: congressman 1875–79, 1882–87.
of limited size; of comparatively restricted dimensions; not big; little:
a small box.
slender, thin, or narrow:
a small waist.
not large as compared with others of the same kind:
a small elephant.
(of letters) lowercase (def 1).
not great in amount, degree, extent, duration, value, etc.:
a small salary.
not great numerically:
a small army.
of low numerical value; denoted by a low number.
having but little land, capital, power, influence, etc., or carrying on business or some activity on a limited scale:
a small enterprise.
of minor importance, moment, weight, or consequence:
a small problem.
humble, modest, or unpretentious:
small circumstances.
characterized by or indicative of littleness of mind or character; mean-spirited; petty:
a small, miserly man.
of little strength or force:
a small effort.
(of sound or the voice) gentle; with little volume.
very young:
when I was a small boy.
diluted; weak.
in a small manner:
They talked big but lived small.
into small pieces:
Slice the cake small.
in low tones; softly.
something that is small:
Do you prefer the small or the large?
a small or narrow part, as of the back.
those who are small:
Democracy benefits the great and the small.
smalls, small goods or products.
smalls, British.

household linen, as napkins, pillowcases, etc.

smalls, British Informal. the responsions at Oxford University.
smalls, Mining. coal, ore, gangue, etc., in fine particles.
feel small, to be ashamed or mortified:
Her unselfishness made me feel small.
Contemporary Examples

‘Asteroids’ & The Dawn of the Gamer Age David Owen November 28, 2014
Backstage at Vera Wang Isabel Wilkinson September 13, 2010

Historical Examples

An Account of the Bell Rock Light-House Robert Stevenson
An Account of the Foxglove and some of its Medical Uses William Withering
Cape Cod Stories Joseph C. Lincoln
The Journal of Negro History, Volume 5, 1920 Various
The Journal of Negro History, Volume 7, 1922 Various
Barnaby Rudge Charles Dickens
Dry Fish and Wet Anthon Bernhard Elias Nilsen
Cape Cod Stories Joseph C. Lincoln

comparatively little; limited in size, number, importance, etc
of little importance or on a minor scale: a small business
lacking in moral or mental breadth or depth: a small mind
modest or humble: small beginnings
of low or inferior status, esp socially
(of a child or animal) young; not mature
unimportant, trivial: a small matter
not outstanding: a small actor
of, relating to, or designating the ordinary modern minuscule letter used in printing and cursive writing Compare capital1 (sense 13) See also lower case
lacking great strength or force: a small effort
in fine particles: small gravel
(obsolete) (of beer, etc) of low alcoholic strength
into small pieces: you have to cut it small
in a small or soft manner
feel small, to be humiliated or inferior
the small, an object, person, or group considered to be small: do you want the small or the large?
a small slender part, esp of the back
(pl) (informal, mainly Brit) items of personal laundry, such as underwear

My sister … is as white as a lilly, and as small as a wand. [Shakespeare, “Two Gentlemen of Verona,” 1591]

Sense of “not large, of little size” developed in Old English. Of children, “young,” from mid-13c. Meaning “inferior in degree or amount” is from late 13c. Meaning “trivial, unimportant” is from mid-14c. Sense of “having little property or trade” is from 1746. That of “characterized by littleness of mind or spirit, base, low, mean” is from 1824. As an adverb by late 14c.

Small fry, first recorded 1690s of little fish, 1885 of insignificant people. Small potatoes “no great matter” first attested 1924; small change “something of little value” is from 1902; small talk “chit-chat, trifling conversation” (1751) first recorded in Chesterfield’s “Letters.” Small world as a comment upon an unexpected meeting of acquaintances is recorded from 1895. Small-arms, indicating those capable of being carried in the hand (contrasted to ordnance) is recorded from 1710.

small beer
small cog in a large wheel
small frog in a big pond
small fry
small hours
small print
small talk
small time
small wonder


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