litter
Pronunciation
  • (British) IPA: /ˈlɪtə(ɹ)/
  • (America) IPA: /ˈlɪtɚ/, [ˈlɪɾɚ]
Noun

litter

  1. (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.
    • c. 1603–1606, William Shakespeare, “The Tragedie of King Lear”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act III, scene vi]:
      There is a litter ready; lay him in 't.
  2. (collective, countable) The offspring of a mammal born in one birth.
    • A wolf came to a sow, and very kindly offered to take care of her litter.
  3. (uncountable) Material used as bedding for animals.
  4. (uncountable) Collectively, items discarded on the ground.
    • 1730, Jonathan Swift, ''''
      Strephon […] / Stole in, and took a strict survey / Of all the litter as it lay.
  5. (uncountable) Absorbent material used in an animal's litter tray
  6. (uncountable) Layer of fallen leaves and similar organic matter in a forest floor.
  7. A covering of straw for plants.
    • Take off the litter from your kernel beds.
Synonyms Translations Translations Translations Translations Translations Translations
  • German: Streu, Bodenstreu
  • Spanish: colchón de hojas
Verb

litter (litters, present participle littering; past and past participle littered)

  1. (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.
  2. (transitive) To scatter carelessly about.
  3. (transitive) To strew (a place) with scattered articles.
    • 1713, Jonathan Swift, Cadenus and Vanessa
      the room with volumes littered round
  4. (transitive) To give birth to, used of animals.
    • 1646, Thomas Browne, Pseudodoxia Epidemica
      We might conceive that dogs were created blind, because we observe they were littered so with us.
    • 1610–1611, William Shakespeare, “The Tempest”, in Mr. William Shakespeares Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies: Published According to the True Originall Copies (First Folio), London: Printed by Isaac Iaggard, and Ed[ward] Blount, published 1623, OCLC 606515358 ↗, [Act I, scene ii]:
      The son that she did litter here, / A freckled whelp hagborn.
  5. (intransitive) To produce a litter of young.
    • 18, Thomas Babington Macaulay, chapter 12, in The History of England from the Accession of James the Second, volume (please specify ), London: Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans, OCLC 1069526323 ↗:
  6. (transitive) To supply (cattle etc.) with litter; to cover with litter, as the floor of a stall.
    • Tell them how they litter their jades.
    • 1700, [John] Dryden, Fables Ancient and Modern; […], London: Printed for Jacob Tonson, […], OCLC 228732415 ↗:
      For his ease, well litter'd was the floor.
  7. (intransitive) To be supplied with litter as bedding; to sleep or make one's bed in litter.
    • The inn where he and his horse littered.
Translations Translations


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