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small (adj.)

Old English smæl "thin, slender, narrow; fine," from Proto-Germanic *smal- "small animal; small" (source also of Old Saxon, Danish, Swedish, Middle Dutch, Dutch, Old High German smal, Old Frisian smel, German schmal "narrow, slender," Gothic smalista "smallest," Old Norse smali "small cattle, sheep"), perhaps from a PIE root *(s)melo- "smaller animal" (source also of Greek melon, Old Irish mil "a small animal;" Old Church Slavonic malu "bad"). Original sense of "narrow" now almost obsolete, except in reference to waistline and intestines.

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 (n.)

early 13c., "small person or animal," from small (adj.). From c. 1300 as "persons of low rank" (opposed to great); late 15c. as "the small part" of something (such as small of the back, 1530s).

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Definitions of small from WordNet
1
small (adj.)
slight or limited; especially in degree or intensity or scope;
a series of death struggles with small time in between
small (adj.)
limited or below average in number or quantity or magnitude or extent;
a small car
a little (or small) group
Synonyms: little
small (adj.)
relatively moderate, limited, or small;
a small business
small-scale plans
Synonyms: minor / modest / small-scale / pocket-size / pocket-sized
small (adj.)
(of children and animals) young, immature;
small children
Synonyms: little
small (adj.)
low or inferior in station or quality;
small beginnings
Synonyms: humble / low / lowly / modest
small (adj.)
lowercase;
small a
Synonyms: little / minuscule
small (adj.)
(of a voice) faint;
a still small voice
Synonyms: little
small (adj.)
have fine or very small constituent particles;
a small misty rain
small (adj.)
not large but sufficient in size or amount;
helped in my own small way
Synonyms: modest
small (adj.)
made to seem smaller or less (especially in worth);
her comments made me feel small
Synonyms: belittled / diminished
2
small (n.)
the slender part of the back;
small (n.)
a garment size for a small person;
3
small (adv.)
on a small scale;
think small
From wordnet.princeton.edu