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See also: Litter
From Middle English lytere, litere, from Anglo-Norman litiere, from Late Latin lectuāria (“bedding”), from Latin lectus (“bed”). Compare French litière.
Had the sense of ‘bed’ in very early English, but then came to mean ‘portable couch’, ‘bedding’, ‘strewn rushes (for animals)’, etc.
- (UK) IPA(key): /ˈlɪtə(ɹ)/
- (US) IPA(key): /ˈlɪtɚ/, [ˈlɪɾɚ]
- Rhymes: -ɪtə(ɹ)
- Homophone: lidder (US)
Audio (US) (file)
litter (countable and uncountable, plural litters)
- (countable) A platform mounted on two shafts, or a more elaborate construction, designed to be carried by two (or more) people to transport one (in luxury models sometimes more) third person(s) or (occasionally in the elaborate version) a cargo, such as a religious idol.
- Synonyms: palanquin, sedan chair, stretcher, cacolet, lectica
- c. 1603–1606, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of King Lear”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies […] (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act III, scene vi]:
- There is a litter ready; lay him in 't.
- 1922, Dhalla, Maneckji Nusservanji, Zoroastrian Civilization, page 219:
- When they went out, they sat in litters, which were curtained.
- 1942 March, “Notes and News: Monument to a Stillborn Railway”, in Railway Magazine, page 88:
- "The Chengtu revolutionaries were fantastically colourful in the Szechwanese manner—they costumed themselves as heroes of the stage and their energies were chiefly occupied in tying ropes across the main streets so that when Imperial officials rode by in their litters they would have to get down and crawl under, losing face.
- (collective, countable) The offspring of a mammal born in one birth.
- The runt of the litter is a puppy that is the smallest or weakest among the newborn dogs in a litter .
- 1692, Roger L’Estrange, “ (please specify the fable number.) (please specify the name of the fable.)”, in Fables, of Æsop and Other Eminent Mythologists: […], London: […] R[ichard] Sare, […], →OCLC:
- A Wolf came to a Sow, and very Kindly Offer'd to take care of her Litter.
- (uncountable) Material used as bedding for animals.
- sleep in the litter
- (uncountable) Collectively, items discarded on the ground.
- 1730, Jonathan Swift, s:The Lady's Dressing Room
- Strephon [...]
Stole in, and took a strict survey
Of all the litter as it lay.
- Strephon [...]
- 1962 October, Brian Haresnape, “Focus on B.R. passenger stations”, in Modern Railways, page 254:
- The British people seem incapable of avoiding the habit of leaving litter wherever they go, and the railways certainly seem to receive their fair share of it, in carriages and on stations.
- 1730, Jonathan Swift, s:The Lady's Dressing Room
- (uncountable) Absorbent material used in an animal's litter tray
- the cat's litter
- (uncountable) Layer of fallen leaves and similar organic matter in a forest floor.
- A covering of straw for plants.
- 1664, J[ohn] E[velyn], Sylva, or A Discourse of Forest-trees and the Propagation of Timber in His Majesties Dominions. […], London: […] Jo[hn] Martyn, and Ja[mes] Allestry, printers to the Royal Society, […], →OCLC, chapter IV (Of the Elm), page 19:
- Let new planted Elms be kept moist by frequent refreſhings upon ſome half-rotten Fern, or Litter laid about the foot of the ſtem; [...]
platform designed to carry a person or a load
animals born in one birth
bedding for animals
material for litter tray
layer of dead leaves and other organic matter
- The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout § Translations.
litter (third-person singular simple present litters, present participle littering, simple past and past participle littered)
- (intransitive) To drop or throw trash without properly disposing of it (as discarding in public areas rather than trash receptacles).
- By tossing the bottle out the window, he was littering.
- (transitive) To scatter carelessly about.
- (transitive) To strew (a place) with scattered articles.
- 1726, [Jonathan Swift], Cadenus and Vanessa. A Poem, London: […] J. Roberts […], →OCLC, page 18:
- Their Clamour, 'lighting from their Chairs, / Grew lowder, all the way up Stairs; / At Entrance louder, where they found, / The Room with Volumes litter'd round; [...]
- (transitive) To give birth to, in the manner of animals.
- 1650, Thomas Browne, Pseudodoxia Epidemica: […], 2nd edition, London: […] A[braham] Miller, for Edw[ard] Dod and Nath[aniel] Ekins, […], →OCLC:
- We might conceive that dogs were created blind, because we observe they were littered so with us.
- 1610–1611 (date written), William Shakespeare, “The Tempest”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies […] (First Folio), London: […] Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, →OCLC, [Act I, scene ii]:
- The son that she did litter here, / A freckled whelp hagborn.
- (intransitive) To produce a litter of young.
- 1849–1861, Thomas Babington Macaulay, chapter 12, in The History of England from the Accession of James the Second, volume (please specify |volume=I to V), London: Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans, →OCLC:
- A desert […] where the she-wolf still littered.
- (transitive) To supply (cattle etc.) with litter; to cover with litter, as the floor of a stall.
- 1693, John Hacket, Scrinia reserata: a Memorial offered to the great Deservings of John Williams:
- Tell them how they litter their jades.
- 1700, [John] Dryden, Fables Ancient and Modern; […], London: […] Jacob Tonson, […], →OCLC:
- For his ease, well litter'd was the floor.
- (intransitive) To be supplied with litter as bedding; to sleep or make one's bed in litter.
- 1634, William Habington, Castara:
- The inn where he and his horse litter'd.
drop or throw trash without properly disposing of it
From Old French liter, luitier, from Latin luctārī. Compare French lutter.
- litteux (“wrestler”)
- English terms derived from Proto-Indo-European
- English terms derived from the Proto-Indo-European root *legʰ-
- English terms inherited from Middle English
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- English terms derived from Late Latin
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- English 2-syllable words
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- Rhymes:English/ɪtə(ɹ)/2 syllables
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- en:Baby animals
- Norman terms inherited from Old French
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