littleness

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

little +‎ -ness

Noun[edit]

littleness (countable and uncountable, plural littlenesses)

  1. The property of being little, smallness.
    His littleness didn't bother him, except when he needed to get something off the top shelf.
  2. Smallness of spirit; pettiness.
    • 1614, John Donne, “To the Countess of Salisbury” lines 16-21,[2]
      Court, city, church are all shops of smallwares;
      All having blown to sparks their noble fire,
      And drawn their sound gold ingot into wire;
      All trying by a love of littleness
      To make abridgments, and to draw to less
      Even that nothing which at first we were;
    • 1886, Theodore Roosevelt, Thomas Hart Benton, Boston: Houghton Mifflin, Chapter 11, p. 239,[3]
      Tyler [] has been called a mediocre man; but this is unwarranted flattery. He was a politician of monumental littleness.
    • 1904, H. G. Wells, The Food of the Gods and How It Came to Earth, Chapter 1, section I,[4]
      There is no doubt about what is not great, no race of men have such obvious littlenesses. They live in a narrow world so far as their human intercourse goes; their researches involve infinite attention and an almost monastic seclusion; and what is left over is not very much.