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runt of the litter

The smallest and weakest person in a group, especially a group of siblings. (A "litter" is a group of newborn mammals, the smallest of which is least likely to thrive or survive.) Even though I'm the middle child, I've always been the runt of the litter in our family—even my younger sister picks on me because she's taller than I am.
See also: litter, of, runt

pick of the litter

The best or most ideal option in a group. (A "litter" is a group of newborn mammals, especially puppies or kittens.) Matt is the pick of the litter, so we need to make sure he ends up on our team. I know you think that puppy is too small, but to me he's just the pick of the litter!
See also: litter, of, pick

litter (something) around

To throw things on the ground in an untidy manner. My roommate is always littering his clothes around the house. It drives me crazy! You really shouldn't litter your trash around like that.
See also: around, litter

litter (something or some place) up

To make something or some place very messy or untidy. I hate the way he litters up his desk with papers and dirty plates—it just looks really unprofessional. The room wasn't clean for more than an hour before the kids had littered it up with toys and bits of food.
See also: litter, up

litter (something) about

To throw things on the ground in an untidy manner. My roommate is always littering his clothes about the house. It drives me crazy! You really shouldn't litter your trash about like that.
See also: litter

litter something about

 and litter something around
to cast around something, such as trash, clothing, personal possessions, etc. Don't litter all that stuff about. I wish you wouldn't litter your trash around.
See also: litter

litter something up

to mess something up with litter, trash, possessions, etc. Who littered this room up? Who littered up this room?
See also: litter, up

runt of the litter

1. Lit. the smallest animal born in a litter; the animal in a litter least likely to survive. No one wanted to buy the runt of the litter, so we kept it.
2. and the runt of the family Fig. the smallest child in the family. I was the runt of the litter and the butt of all the jokes.
See also: litter, of, runt

pick of the litter

The best of a group, as in He was first in the ticket line so he had the pick of the litter. This term, alluding to the most desirable one from a litter of puppies or kittens, supplanted such earlier variants as pick of the market, pick of the parish, and pick of the basket. [Early 1900s]
See also: litter, of, pick
References in periodicals archive ?
Our experiment has two treatments: in the Baseline treatment, the participants do not bear the private cost for littering whereas in the second treatment (which we term as the 'Cost treatment'), each participant bears the private cost for littering.
In July, 33 people were taken to magistrates court for failing to pay their fines ( one person faced two charges of failing to pay littering fines.
There will be no excuse littering and every pupil will be aware of the consequences of littering both in terms of clean up costs and also the effect on the local environment.
City centre neighbourhood manager Mike Cockburn, said the situation on littering was improving but there was no room for 'complacency'.
Megaphone Man will be backed up by more than 100 CCTV cameras which will record incriminating footage of littering.
Amazingly, the city did not issue a single ticket for littering in 2002,'' LaBonge's motion states.
This strategy intends to challenge and change the attitude of people who consider that littering is an acceptable behavior.
The council wants to ensure people get the message that litter will not be tolerated, and that people who are caught littering will be punished for their disregard towards the environment.
The proposed fee/tax does not address the root causes of littering with education or additional enforcement measures.
Having said that, we do comply with the Government s code of practice on litter and refuse and the 1990 Environmental Protection Act and carry out general daily and specific monthly inspections of the road network in which the extent of littering and fly-tipping is assessed and we can plan litter clearance accordingly.
He added: "Officers will be taking the appropriate enforcement action against offenders caught littering or creating antisocial behaviour.
The moves come amid fears that the amount of fast food littering the streets is feeding the growing rat population.
The Caltrans Don't Trash California campaign, running through September 2006, is an education campaign aimed at raising the level of awareness among Californians of the effects of littering.
The rise in Fixed Penalty Notices will see those caught littering face an Au80 penalty; while those flytipping could be Au200 worse off.
Coun Lambert said youngsters are littering neighbourhoods by dumping food wrappers, drinks bottles and cigarette ends.