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3 definitions found
 for small beer
From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 :

  Small \Small\ (sm[add]l), a. [Compar. Smaller
     (sm[add]l"[~e]r); superl. Smallest.] [OE. small, AS. smael;
     akin to D. smal narrow, OS. & OHG. smal small, G. schmal
     narrow, Dan. & Sw. smal, Goth. smals small, Icel. smali small
     cattle, sheep, or goats; cf. Gr. mh^lon a sheep or goat.]
     1. Having little size, compared with other things of the same
        kind; little in quantity or degree; diminutive; not large
        or extended in dimension; not great; not much;
        inconsiderable; as, a small man; a small river.
        [1913 Webster]
              To compare
              Great things with small.              --Milton.
        [1913 Webster]
     2. Being of slight consequence; feeble in influence or
        importance; unimportant; trivial; insignificant; as, a
        small fault; a small business.
        [1913 Webster]
     3. Envincing little worth or ability; not large-minded; --
        sometimes, in reproach, paltry; mean.
        [1913 Webster]
              A true delineation of the smallest man is capable of
              interesting the greatest man.         --Carlyle.
        [1913 Webster]
     4. Not prolonged in duration; not extended in time; short;
        as, after a small space. --Shak.
        [1913 Webster]
     5. Weak; slender; fine; gentle; soft; not loud. "A still,
        small voice." --1 Kings xix. 12.
        [1913 Webster]
     Great and small,of all ranks or degrees; -- used especially
        of persons. "His quests, great and small." --Chaucer.
     Small arms, muskets, rifles, pistols, etc., in distinction
        from cannon.
     Small beer. See under Beer.
     Small coal.
        (a) Little coals of wood formerly used to light fires.
        (b) Coal about the size of a hazelnut, separated from the
            coarser parts by screening.
     Small craft (Naut.), a vessel, or vessels in general, of a
        small size.
     Small fruits. See under Fruit.
     Small hand, a certain size of paper. See under Paper.
     Small hours. See under Hour.
     Small letter. (Print.), a lower-case letter. See
        Lower-case, and Capital letter, under Capital, a.
     Small piece, a Scotch coin worth about 21/4d. sterling, or
        about 41/2cents.
     Small register. See the Note under 1st Register, 7.
     Small stuff (Naut.), spun yarn, marline, and the smallest
        kinds of rope. --R. H. Dana, Jr.
     Small talk, light or trifling conversation; chitchat.
     Small wares (Com.), various small textile articles, as
        tapes, braid, tringe, and the like. --M`Culloch.
        [1913 Webster]

From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 :

  Beer \Beer\, n. [OE. beor, ber, AS. be['o]r; akin to Fries.
     biar, Icel. bj?rr, OHG. bior, D. & G. bier, and possibly E.
     brew. [root]93, See Brew.]
     1. A fermented liquor made from any malted grain, but
        commonly from barley malt, with hops or some other
        substance to impart a bitter flavor.
        [1913 Webster]
     Note: Beer has different names, as small beer, ale,
           porter, brown stout, lager beer, according to its
           strength, or other qualities. See Ale.
           [1913 Webster]
     2. A fermented extract of the roots and other parts of
        various plants, as spruce, ginger, sassafras, etc.
        [1913 Webster]
     Small beer, weak beer; (fig.) insignificant matters. "To
        suckle fools, and chronicle small beer." --Shak.
        [1913 Webster]

From WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006) :

  small beer
      n 1: something of small importance [syn: triviality, trivia,
           trifle, small beer]

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