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Not large; in figurative use, trivial, unimportant.

small beer a thing that is considered unimportant, from an archaic term for weak beer. The figurative use may originally have referred to Shakespeare's Othello (1602–4).

small choice in rotten apples proverbial saying, late 16th century (first recorded in Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew, 1593), meaning that if all options are unpalatable there is little choice to be had.

small hours the early hours of the morning after midnight, denoted by the low numbers one, two, and so on; the term is first recorded in Dickens's Sketches by Boz (2nd series, 1836).

small is beautiful proverbial saying, late 20th century, expressing the belief that small-scale organizations are more efficient and effective than large-scale ones. The statement was originally the title of a book (1973) by the German-born economist E. F. Schumacher (1911–77).

small print printed matter in small type; inconspicuous details or conditions printed in an agreement or contract, especially ones that may prove unfavourable.

See also the best things come in small packages, better are small fish than an empty dish, a big fish in a small pond, be thankful for small mercies at mercy, the mills of God grind slowly, yet they grind exceeding small at mill.

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