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Little, adj. (comp. and superl. less or lesser, and least, q. v. “littlest:” Hml. III, 2, 181, only in Qq; Ff om.) 1) small in size or extent: “what says she to my l. jewel?” Gent. IV, 4, 51. “a l. wee face,” Wiv. I, 4, 22. “your l. page,” II, 2, 119. III, 2, 1. III, 3, 21. III, 3, 21 IV, 4, 47. “a l. door,” Meas. IV, 1, 32. LLL I, 1, 109. All's IV, 5, 54. if it (the apparel) “be too l. for your thief,” Meas. IV, 2, 47. “she is too l. for a great praise,” Ado I, 1, 175. “with l. quill,” Mids. III, 1, 131. “though she be but l., she is fierce,” III, 2, 325. LLL I, 2, 22. LLL I, 2, 22 “that l. candle,” Merch. V, 1, 90. “a great reckoning in a l. room,” As III, 3, 15. “a l. pot and soon hot,” Shr. IV, 1, 6. “although the print be l.” Wint. II, 3, 98. “patches set upon a l. breach,” John IV, 2, 32. “attest in l. place a million,” John IV, 2, 32. “this house is l.” Lr. II, 4, 291. “as l. as a crow,” Cymb. I, 3, 15 etc. etc. l. ones == children: “come, l. ones,” R2 V, 5, 15. “hence with your l. ones,” Mcb. IV, 2, 69.
Substantively: in l. == a) in a small compass: “if all the devils of hell be drawn in l.” Tw. III, 4, 95. 2) in miniature: “on his visage was in l. drawn what . . . in Paradise was sawn,” Compl. 90. “the quintessence of every sprite heaven would in l. show,” As III, 2, 148. “his picture in l.” Hml. II, 2, 384.
2) thin: “that my leg is too long? No, that it is too l. I'll wear a boot, to make it somewhat rounder,” Gent. V, 2, 5. “turned to one thread, one l. hair,” John V, 7, 54. Of the high sound of a voice (== small): “I'll speak in a monstrous l. voice,” Mids. I, 2, 54.
3) short in duration: “a l. time, a l. while,” Tp. III, 2, 93. Gent. III, 2, 9. Gent. III, 2, 9 Meas. II, 2, 26. As II, 7, 127. R2 I, 1, 112 etc. “our l. life is rounded with a sleep,” Tp. IV, 157. “Od's my l. life,” As III, 5, 43 etc. Substantively, a l. == a short time: “for a l. follow,” Tp. IV, 266. “hear me a l.” Ado IV, 1, 157. “a l. ere the mightiest Julius fell,” Hml. I, 1, 114. in a l. == briefly: “I'll tell you in a l.” H8 II, 1, 11.
4) small in quantity, degree, or amount, not much, inconsiderable: “of as l. memory,” Tp. II, 1, 233. “dost me but l. hurt,” II, 2, 82. “his l. speaking,” Gent. I, 2, 29. “I have l. wealth to lose,” IV, 1, 11. “not so l. grace,” Wiv. II, 2, 117. “with so l. preparation,” Wiv. II, 2, 117 “with as l. remorse,” III, 5, 10. “a l. chiding,” V, 3, 11. “a l. brief authority,” Meas. II, 2, 118. “l. honour,” II, 4, 149. “salt too l. which may season give,” Ado IV, 1, 144. “l. reason,” Mids. III, 1, 146. “how l. is the cost,” Merch. III, 4, 19. “to do a great right, do a l. wrong,” IV, 1, 216. “l. thanks,” IV, 1, 216 “the l. wit that fools have,” As I, 2, 95. “the l. strength that I have,” As I, 2, 95 “on so l. acquaintance,” V, 2, 1. “as l. beard,” All's II, 3, 67. “a l. thing would make me tell,” Tw. III, 4, 331. “the l. blood which I have left,” Wint. II, 3, 166. “I have a l. money,” IV, 3, 82. “a l. snow,” John III, 4, 176. “a l. water,” IV, 3, 131. Mcb. II, 2, 67. “a l. life,” H4A V, 4, 103. “of so l. regard,” H4B I, 2, 191. “a l. ratsbane,” H6A V, 4, 29. “a l. gale,” H6C V, 3, 10. “the blessedness of being l.” H8 IV, 2, 66. “as l. is the wisdom,” Mcb. IV, 2, 13. “the --st doubts,” Hml. III, 2, 181 etc. etc. In general, a l. == some, though not much (see the above instances: Merch. IV, 1, 216. Wint. IV, 3, 82. John III, 4, 176. IV, 3, 131. Mcb. II, 2, 67. H6A V, 4, 29); l., in a negative sense, == scarce any, no (see Tp. II, 2, 82. Gent. IV, 1, 11. Meas. II, 4, 149. Mids. III, 1, 146. Merch. IV, 1, 288); but sometimes l. == a l.: “hold l. faith, though thou hast too much fear,” Tw. V, 174. “restored with good advice and l. medicine,” H4B III, 1, 43.
Substantively, with the same difference between l. and a l. 1) l.: “of that there's none or l.” Tp. II, 1, 51. “'tis too l. for carrying a letter,” Gent. I, 1, 116. “set l. by such toys,” I, 2, 82. “I would l. or nothing with you,” Wiv. III, 4, 65. “l. have you to say,” Meas. IV, 1, 68. Merch. IV, 1, 264. “know l. but bowling,” Wint. IV, 4, 338 etc. With of: “we'll have very l. of it,” Meas. IV, 3, 189. “there's l. of the melancholy element in her,” Ado II, 1, 357. “l. of the marking,” LLL I, 1, 288. “it is not l. of his care to have them recompensed,” Wint. IV, 4, 530. “my heart weeps to see him so l. of his great self,” H8 III, 2, 336. “act l. of his will,” Hml. IV, 5, 125. 2) a l. == somewhat, in some degree: “hear a l. further,” Tp. I, 2, 135. “the painter flattered her a l.” Gent. IV, 4, 192. “a l. nearer,” Wiv. II, 2, 47. “a l. further,” IV, 2, 210. “cut a l.” Meas. II, 1, 5. “to be a l. vain,” Err. III, 2, 27. “a l. worse,” Merch. I, 2, 94. Tw. II, 4, 25. II, 5, 152. John IV, 1, 29. Cymb. III, 4, 68 etc. or == some, though not a great amount of a thing: “tarry a l.” Merch. IV, 1, 305. “an she stand him but a l.” Shr. I, 2, 113. All's II, 4, 27. Tw. III, 4, 393. H4A III, 2, 72. H4B IV, 5, 99 etc. But a l. == l.: “thou'ldst thank me but a l. for my counsel,” Shr. I, 2, 61. “have misdemeaned yourself, and not a l.” H8 V, 3, 14. “it is not a l. I have to say,” Lr. I, 1, 286 (Ff not l.). “for nothing or a l.” Ant. II, 2, 31. “a very l.” Cor. V, 3, 16.
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