When answering the question “What is the short form of “LITTLE”?” we have to take a closer look at the English language and its structure. While all short forms of little are grammatically incorrect, the most common version is “Li’l”.
We usually see several spellings of this word in its short form – either Li’l, Lil, or Lil’. All of them are incorrect, but why do we use them in the first place?
We are lazy…
Generally, we are pretty lazy with our language unless we are in an English class or trying to impress scholars. The English language has so many slang words and short forms of words.
We use “dope” to describe something cool, and we want someone to “spill the tea” when we want to hear all the latest gossip. We use slang and short forms in our everyday life.
Why does Li’l make the most sense?
The spelling Li’l makes the most sense as far as following common rules in the English language because of rules when making conjunctions. When you make conjunction, you are essentially putting two words together.
For example, when you have the words “They Are” it becomes “They’re”. The apostrophe replaces the “a” in “are”.
Therefore, when you spell “Little” and you want a short form, you have to make it “Li’l” and the apostrophe replaces the “tt”.
You may be wondering “what about the “e”?” This is where some of our laziness comes into place when we are using the English language: the e is silent anyway, so it is just dropped.
Where does Li’l come from?
Li’l does appear in some nursery rhymes from the 1800s and it also appears in old newsprints from a comic strip called “Li’l Abner”.
More recently and what we commonly think of first is rap names. We see rappers like Lil Wayne, Lil Jon, and Lil’ Kim. Note that we use a capital L with names.
While none of these names are using the most correct form of the word little, does it really matter? These artists aren’t trying to impress anyone, it is simply another slang term in their name.
The term “Lil” can have some different meanings in the rap world. It can simply be a name that was given to them when they were young, or “little”.
Or it can be a funny term – if they are really tall for example, being called little is funny.
Whichever way you choose to spell the short form of little, just know that it really doesn’t matter. All the rules of the English language are being broken here anyways, and sometimes rules are meant to be broken.