- The definition of litter is absorbent materials in an indoor pan which is used to absorb the waste of a cat.
An example of litter are the grey granules of clay used in a cat's litter box.
- Litter is defined as trash or garbage that is not disposed of properly and that is left laying where it doesn't belong.
An example of litter is garbage lying on public streets or roads.
- Historical a framework set on poles for transporting dignitaries, etc., having a canopied couch and typically carried by servants
- a stretcher for carrying the sick or wounded
- straw, hay, leaves, etc. used as bedding for animals, as a protective covering for plants, etc.
- an absorbent granular or pelletized material used to cover the bottom of a receptacle (litter box) into which a domestic pet, esp. a cat, is trained to urinate and defecate
- the young borne at one time by a dog, cat, or other animal which normally bears several young at a delivery
- things lying about in disorder, esp., bits of rubbish scattered about
- untidiness; disorder
- Forestry the surface layer of the forest floor, in which the leaves are slightly decomposed
Origin of litterMiddle English litere from Old French litiere from Medieval Latin literia, lectaria from Classical Latin lectus, a couch: see lie
- to supply with a bed, covering, etc. of straw, hay, or the like
- to bring forth (a number of young) at one time: said of certain animals
- to make messy with things scattered about
- to scatter about carelessly
the pick of the litter
- a. Carelessly discarded refuse, such as wastepaper: the litter in the streets after a parade.b. A disorderly accumulation of objects; a pile. “An iron washstand [stood] in the corner amidst a litter of soap and soiled towels” ( Molly Gloss )
- The group of offspring produced at one birth by a mammal.
- a. Material, such as straw, used as bedding for animals.b. An absorbent material for covering the floor of an animal's cage or litterbox.
- An enclosed or curtained couch mounted on shafts and used to carry a single passenger.
- A flat supporting framework, such as a piece of canvas stretched between parallel shafts, for carrying a disabled or dead person; a stretcher.
- Fallen leaves and other decaying organic matter that make up the top layer of a forest floor.
verblit·tered, lit·ter·ing, lit·ters
- To give birth to (a litter).
- To make untidy by discarding rubbish carelessly: Someone had littered the beach with food wrappers.
- To scatter about: littered towels all over the locker room.
- To be scattered about (an area): “A lot of torn envelopes and open letters littered his bed” ( Joseph Conrad )
- To include certain items such as expressions throughout (a speech or piece of writing, for example): littered his letters with the names of powerful friends.
- Archaic To supply (animals) with litter for bedding or floor covering.
- To give birth to a litter.
- To scatter litter.
Origin of litterMiddle English from Anglo-Norman litere from Medieval Latin lectāria ( influenced by Old French lit bed ) from Latin lectus bed ; see legh- in Indo-European roots.
(countable and uncountable, plural litters)
- (countable) A platform mounted on two shafts, or a more elaborate construction, designed to be carried by two (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.
- (countable) The offspring of a mammal born in one birth.
- (uncountable) Material used as bedding for animals.
- (uncountable) Collectively, items discarded on the ground.
- (uncountable) Absorbent material used in an animal's litter tray
- (uncountable) Layer of fallen leaves and similar organic matter in a forest floor.
- A covering of straw for plants.
(third-person singular simple present litters, present participle littering, simple past and past participle littered)
- (intransitive) To drop or throw trash without properly disposing of it (as discarding in public areas rather than trash receptacles).
- To strew with scattered articles.
- To give birth to, used of animals.
- (intransitive) To produce a litter of young.
- To supply (cattle etc.) with litter; to cover with litter, as the floor of a stall.
- (intransitive) To be supplied with litter as bedding; to sleep or make one's bed in litter.