Green’s Dictionary of Slang

small adj.

SE in slang uses

In derivatives

smaller (n.)

(US) a glass of undiluted spirits.

[US]J.C. Neal Charcoal Sketches (1865) III 23: Bring us one of the largest kind of smallers, a tumbler full of brandy and water, without no water in it.
[US]Schele De Vere Americanisms 316: The usual small glass of simple spirits is technically known as a smaller.

In compounds

small and early (n.)

(UK society) an informal dance (as opposed to a full-scale ball), to which few guests are invited and which starts early and ends before midnight; also attrib.

[UK]Illus. London News 3 May 278: Lady Lyndhurst gave a ‘carpet’ dance on Tuesday night, at the residence of the Lord Chancellor, in George-street, Hanover square. it was a small and early party, at which about 250 fashionables assembled.
[UK]Dickens Our Mutual Friend (1994) 131: For the clearing off of these worthies, Mrs. Podsnap added a small and early evening to the dinner.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 15 Oct. 12/1: What was the result of it all? We burn with shame (for Mayor Cain) to say merely a ‘small and early,’ or what they call a ‘Cinderella’ dance – a ‘hop’ of the most commonplace and unpretentious description.
[UK]S. Wales Echo 28 May 4/1: ‘Are you going to give a “small and early” — the fifth “small and early” this season?’.
[UK]‘Doss Chiderdoss’ ‘Young Actresses’ Sporting Times 8 Oct. 1/3: She sometimes unexpectedly reveals / Her proficiency in that line at my ‘small and early’ teas.
Morn. News (Wilmington, DE) 9 Apr. 7/8: Two series of ‘Small and Early’ dances have been held in Wilmington.
small beans (n.) (also small bananas, small pickles)

an insignificant thing; usu. in negative.

[UK]Sporting Times 25 July 1/2: He is a shady, a very shady, financier, but he thinks no small beans of himself. ‘I’m a gentleman all right,’ he says, ‘though I may not ’ave blue blood in my veins.’.
[US]B. Appel Plunder (2005) 268: Our deal in gasoline’s going to look like small beans next to the deal I’ve got lined up now.
P. Stevenson Old father Antic 36: Aw sure, he made a strike on a work project one time. But that was small beans.
Pittsburgh Post-Gaz. (PA) 14 Nov. 10/5: I always considered you up there in the Big Time. Now everyone knows you were only small beans.
[US]S. King Stand (1990) 57: His own sudden good fortune probably looked small bananas to Wayne.
[US]S. King Christine 413: The main target was not Arnie, who was small beans, but Will Darnell.
[Aus]J. Byrell Lairs, Urgers & Coat-Tuggers 227: And she’d starred as an extraterrestrial sheila in eight episodes of that grand old knobbly, ‘Dr Who’. I mean, that’s not real small pickles if you ask me.
Raymond & Spiegelman How to Rig an Election 95: Even Newt himself was small beans compared to Haley, because Haley controlled the RNC’s money.
small beer

see separate entries.

small bones (n.)

see separate entry.

small-bore (adj.) [SE small bore, a small calibre gun barrel]

(US) trivial, insignificant.

[US]Congressional Record 14 Feb. 1804/2: No small-bore, two-by-four, radical politicians can hurt that great court [DA].
small bread (n.) [bread n.1 (2)]

(US black) anything insignificant, esp. a small amount of money.

[US]Esquire Nov. 70I: crumbs: a small amount of money. Small bread.
small change

see separate entries.

smallcoal man (n.)

(UK und.) a clergyman.

[UK]Proc. Old Bailey 90/2: Beck. Boys, says he, here’s a Smallcoal-man, let us stop him, for they wear the best of Hats Court. A Smallcoal-man, what did he mean by that. Beck. A Parson. We always call a Parson a Smallcoal-man, because their Dresses are pretty much alike.
smallest room (in the house) (n.) (also small house)

a euph. for the lavatory in a private house.

A. Lyall It isn’t Done 59: It is all very baffling for the uninitiated foreigner [...] who when his host offers to ‘show him the geography of the house’ finds that his tour begins and ends with the smallest and most strictly utilitarian room.
[UK]Dly Herald 15 June 3/6: [advert for Harpic lavatory cleaner] Secret of the Smallest Room.
[UK]Picture Post 15 Jan. 47: [advert for Harpic lavatory cleaner] Every day, your ‘smallest room’ needs a cleaner strong enough to scour right round the S-bend.
[UK]D. Nobbs Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin (1976) 224: The smallest room in the house was situated at the top of the stairs.
[SA]M. Melamu ‘Bad Times, Sad Times’ in Mutloatse Forced Landing 46: ‘Where’ve you been, wise guy?’ [...] ‘I’ve been to the small house.’.
[UK](con. 1940s) D. Nobbs Second From Last in the Sack Race 135: ‘I need the smallest room in the house,’ said Uncle Teddy. ‘Where is it?’.
[UK]J. McDonald Dict. of Obscenity etc.
[Aus]Sydney Morn. Herald 16 Dec. 170/3: We don’t often appreciate the smallest room in the house.
R. Candappa Retox Diet 92: The end result is that when you do visit the smallest room in the house, the pristine porcelain will often end up looking as if [etc.].
small fortune (n.) [understatement]

(orig. US) a very large sum of money, esp. when paid out for some commodity.

[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 9 July 36/1: As to sore backs. These undoubtedly do occur, and the animal has such an immobile and hard-faced expression of countenance (’twould be a small fortune to a poker player), that one cannot tell whether he is pleased or otherwise with the same.
small gang (v.) [? the ‘gang’ requires only one or two people]

1. to rob in the street.

[UK](con. 1840s–50s) H. Mayhew London Labour and London Poor I 420/2: Everything was torn off my back, and the bread was taken away from me, and because I said a word I got well walloped (renewed laughter). They ‘small-ganged’ me.
[UK]Leamington Spa Courier (Warwicks.) 9 Dec. 8/2: The victim was duly ‘small-ganged’ and pillaged.
H. Dalton Sketches of Vagrant Life 5/1: They ‘small-ganged me’ me; and afterwards I went seven days to prison because they tore my clothes.

2. in fig. use.

[UK]Chelmsford Chron. (Essex) 10 Mar. 3/3: I sould be ‘small-ganged’ if I went to work for 1s. a day.
small pipe (n.)

(US) an alto saxophone.

[US]E. Horne For Cool Cats and Far-Out Chicks [W&F].
small potato/potatoes

see separate entries.

small shit (n.) [shit n. (2a)]

(US) someone or something insignificant, unimportant.

[US]G.V. Higgins Digger’s Game (1981) 108: He was small shit and he was happy being small shit.
[US]S. King Stand (1990) 1320: Without me, the best you could have done was small shit.
[US]D. Winslow ‘Broken’ in Broken 4: Passed up the small shit, waited for Oscar to make his big play.
small stuff (n.)

(US) a term of address to a short person, slightly derog.

[US]‘Bill O. Lading’ You Chirped a Chinful!! n.p.: Gimme dat hammer, small stuff.
Hartford Courant (CT) 5 Dec. A09/3: ‘Hey, you, small stuff, are you any good at the gymnastics floor routine?’.
small time/-timer

see separate entries.