Synonyms for Petit, Small, and Short in French

Several Ways to Say 'Small' and 'Short' in French

Miniature Eiffel Tower sitting in the sunlight.

Kaboompics .com/Pexels

If you want to learn to speak French more skillfully, start with vocabulary. In French classes, you tend to learn the most common, basic terms. The adjective petit is one example of a very common French word that can be replaced by any number of synonyms. Learn some different ways to say "small" and "short," and note the different nuances. Click on each word to hear it pronounced.

Small or Short in French

Petit means small or short, depending on how it's used and the words that are used with it.

J'ai besoin d'un petit carton.
I need a small box.

Elle est assez petite.
She is fairly short.

Petit can also be modified by tout to emphasize the smallness:

Il y a un tout petit problème.
There's a tiny problem.

Synonyms for Petit

Court means short or brief.

Vous devriez écrire une introduction courte.
You should write a short introduction.

Il a la mémoire courte.
He has a short memory.

Étriqué means narrow or tight.

C'était une victoire étriquée.
It was a narrow victory.

Ton pantalon a l'air d'être assez étriqué.
Your pants look pretty tight.

Faible means weak or small.

Nous n'avons qu'une faible quantité de réserves.
We have only a few supplies.

Fin means fine or thin.

J'aimerais une fine tranche de gâteau.
I'd like a thin slice of cake.

Infime means tiny or miniscule.

Il a gagné d'une majorité infime.
He won by a tiny majority.

Léger means light, slight, or minor.

C'est une blessure légère.
It's a minor wound.

Maigre means meager or slight.

Son revenu maigre n'est pas suffisant.
His meager income is insufficient.

Microscopique means microscopic.

Les microbes sont microscopiques.
Germs are microscopic.

Mince means thin, meager, or slender.

Nous avons une mince chance de succès.
We have a slender chance of success.

Minuscule means miniscule or tiny.

Je déteste ces minuscules fenêtres dans les salles de bains.
I hate those minuscule windows in bathrooms.

Modeste means small or modest.

C'est un appartement modeste.
It's a modest apartment.

Négligeable means negligible or trivial.

J'ignore les détails négligeables.
I don't know about the trivial details.

Peu is an adverb that means little or not much.

Elle parle peu.
She speaks little (she doesn't talk very much).

Réduit means small.

Un nombre réduit de nos étudiants.
A small number of our students.