For one reason or another, we love to abbreviate words. Especially in non-formal situations. Gas becomes gas. Tomato ketchup becomes Tommy K. And one word we like to abbreviate is "Small."
Many people like to change "little" to "lil". Or should it be "lil" or even "li'l"?
Today we'll look at how "small" is abbreviated correctly, why it's abbreviated anyway, and where it came from in the first place.
Li'l or Lil' or 'Lil? What is the correct short form for "small"?
There is no correct abbreviation for "small" because it is a word that cannot be abbreviated grammatically. But the two most common types are "lil" and "lil'". It's very rare for someone to abbreviate it to "li'l".
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"Li'l" is technically the least ungrammatical
Of course, none of the three options is technically "right". But if we want to follow grammatical rules as closely as possible, the least rule-breaker is "li'l".
When we use an apostrophe for contraction, we use it to replace the letters we got rid of.
When we turn "we are" into "we are". The "a" has been replaced by "'".
So when we convert "little" to "lil", we remove the "tt", which means "li'l" makes the most sense among our three choices.
However, I doubt that Lil Wayne was trying too hard to impress his English teacher.
But never mind that Li'l, Lil' and 'Lil are grammatically incorrect
However, when we are not in an English classroom or writing for English scholars, we can bend and even break some of the rules of English.
Even if "lil" and "lil'" and even "li'l" are wrong, that's not reason enough not to use them. None of these terms are "official", they are slang intended to give the impression of boldness and cleverness.
Language is not made of immutable rules. your liquid. That might change. Rules can disappear. New rules can be added.
We don't have to spend our lives trying to impress our English teachers.
What does Lili mean?
As you might have guessed from much of the article, lil has the same meaning as little.
"little" means small amount. When we say "lil" instead of "little", we say shorter, faster and less formal. Because if our knowledge of English is less important than just conveying our opinion.
When I ask for "just a little", I am asking for only a small amount. If I am a "small cross", it means that I am a little upset.
How to pronounce lil
I find the pronunciation of "lil" fascinating. In theory, it should be said exactly as written. It should rhyme with mill.
For one reason or another, however, it always sounds like a variation on the "small" form. Maybe it's because we subconsciously know what it should be. But it could also be because our mouths are designed in such a way that the tongue rolls at the end of the "lil", giving the impression of a "t".
Try it if you don't believe me. Try saying "lil" but make it rhyme with "mill" and don't sound like "little".
The Surprising Origin of Lil
Although today, when we hear the word "lil", we might think of rappers like Lil Jon or Lil Wayne, the abbreviation for "little" can be found as far back as the 19th century.
But there's more to it than that!
In addition to being super old, it originally came from a children's song. The rhyme would be "lil boy bear, lil gal bear".
It's funny to think that a name associated with rap came from a lullaby about teddy bears. But the language is quite strange at times.
Lil is a common name in rap
Why rappers are called "Lil".
From children's songs to rappers. How did we get here Why do so many rappers like to call themselves "lil"?
There are many nicknames from gang culture in the United States of America. Perhaps to protect people's identities. The term "lil" is often given to people who are shorter than the rest of the gang members. It can also be given to people when they are young and it stays with them for the rest of their lives.
There are some people nicknamed "lil".anything lesssmall. But since they were small when they were named, it stuck.
7 names of "lil" rappers
Here are some famous rappers who have "lil" in their rap names. You might even recognize some of them.
- Lil Jon
His music has a lot of autotune. It's loud, heavy, and something you could play at a party.
- Lil Wayne
Their music is slower and a little darker. He can talk about big butts in one track and losing the love of his life in the next.
- Lil Kim
The first woman on this list, she was big in the 1990s and is always pushing the boundaries of what a woman can do.
- Lil Mama
Another woman on the list. She's here to show that girls can do it too. And by girls I mean popping, locking and rapping.
- Lil Nas X
More singer than rapper. Lil nas x has come onto the scene recently and loves to push boundaries.
- Little baby
Now his name is "DaBaby", but he still looks much older than a baby. He specializes in gangster rap.
- Lil Yachty
This guy is known for having fun when he wants to. With crazy hair and fancy clothes, you want him at your party.
Lil Jon Vs Little John: Similar Names, Not So Similar People
In rap there is a rapper called "Lil Jon". And in Robin Hood there is a character called "Little John". Although these guys have a name that sounds the same, the spelling is different.
Lil Jon is a rapper who probably got his name because of his petite size. On the other hand, Little John is anything but small. He was probably named ironically to emphasize how tall he is.
It's strange how two similar sounding names can have completely different meanings.
Lil is also common outside of rap
9 Phrases That Use "Lil".
Outside of rap there are many other phrases that also use the word lil, here are some of my favorites
- Just a little
If you just want a small amount and not a lot.
- you are such a small baby
You are acting like a child. This is usually said out of frustration.
- it's a little hot
Temperature is on the hotter end of the spectrum. It doesn't boil, but I don't need a sweater.
- Hey little friend.
What people say when they talk to a small animal like a dog or a squirrel.
- We're going to do a little dance
What to say when you're in a bad mood and decide to do a little dance to cheer yourself up.
- any little thing
Another way of saying "everything" but emphasizing that you don't care how small or seemingly insignificant it may be.
- You are a little b***h
What can you say to someone who has done something to upset or provoke you.
- Let's go crazy here
We're having a party with all kinds of weird stuff that our parents probably wouldn't approve of.
adorable. Small and very cute.
"Lil" can also be short for Lillian
"lil" can be not only short for "little", but also short for "Lillian".
Most people who are called "Lillian" are more likely to use the name "Lily", but there are still some who areto preferbe called "Lil".
Therefore, Jonathan can be shortened to "Johnny" or "John".
However, I have a feeling that the full name of "Lil Wayne" is not "Lillian Wayne". Whether "lil" means "little" or "Lillian" is usually obvious. But let me tell you, there is unlikely to be a rapper named "Lillian Kim" or "Lillian Mama".
But I digress.
The two most common abbreviations for "Little" are "lil" or "lil'". The first is much more common, but the second is not unheard of.
"li'l" is still not a "real" word, but it is closer to being grammatically correct than the other two. Mostly, however, "lil" is used by rappers, and I doubt many of them are too busy trying to impress English scholars.
The word "lil" will certainly sound like "small". And the majoritypeople areCalled "lil" when they're little, or at least they were when they got that name.
Next timeyou want to abbreviate "little" then you know what to do!
Martin has a master's degree in Finance and International Business. He has six years of experience in professional communication with clients, executives and colleagues. He also has teaching experience at Aarhus University. Martin was recognized as an expert in communication and teachingForbeseShopify.Read more about Martinon here.
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