Word of the Day: litter

Word Reference
Word of the Day
November 27, 2015
litter (noun, verb) sound LISTEN icon
Litter is a mass noun that describes paper, cans, or general garbage that people throw in the street or any other public space. If we say "a litter of something," we mean that a space is covered with untidy objects. As a verb, litter means 'to throw garbage in the street' and also 'to leave objects lying around in a disorganized way.'
Example sentences
After the concert, the whole park was full of litter.
The kitchen table was a litter of dirty plates and mugs.
You can get a fine for littering in Hong Kong.
Jules never puts anything away; she litters her room with clothes and shoes and leaves books lying around the living room.
Words often used with litter

cat litter: absorbent material that cats use to urinate and defecate at home

litter box (US), litter tray (UK): the container where you put cat litter

litter bin (UK): a small trash can in public spaces

Commonly confused with
Litter refers to objects that have not been disposed of properly. Items that have been put in the appropriate place for collection would be called "rubbish" in the UK or "trash" or "garbage" in the US.
Other forms
litterer (noun)
Litter dates back to the second half of the 13th century, as the Middle English word litere (bed). That word comes from the Medieval Latin word lectāria and the Anglo-French and Old French word litiere.
Additional information
A litter is also a group of animals born at the same time. For other meanings, check out the full definition!


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