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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) 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

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

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
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

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
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

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
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

pick of the litter, the

The best of the lot. Versions of this term have been around in various forms for a long time—from the pick of the market and pick of the parish to the pick of the basket (all nineteenth century) and pick of the bunch (twentieth century). The cliché alludes to selecting the most desirable from a litter of puppies.
See also: of, pick
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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References in periodicals archive ?
Group III contained gilts from litters of 14 and more piglets (33 mothers and 66 daughters).
Along with excellent clump strength and absorption capacity, EasyClean Lightweight is 50 percent lighter than the top clumping litters on the market.
Residents face problems of insufficient litter bins especially near multi-storied buildings.
The high-end Japanese pet brand Nyanko Planet, successfully entered China's pet industry after participating in Pet Fair Asia 2017, and now launches a new series of cat litter in Japan, and will introduce it in Asia-Pacific countries early next year.
1 natural litter in Europe for more than 20 years under another brand name, and the company anticipates continued growth in North America.
In Brief: Processing the spent grains left over from corn ethanol production can produce a kitty litter that's nearly 100% biodegradable.
Yet another issue is the sodium bentonite clay in "clumping" cat litters. The fact that this type of clay can swell up to 15 times its original volume when a cat urinates or defecates into it makes it an excellent cat litter substrate, as waste clumps can be scooped out and filled in without changing the entire litter box.
Austin, TX, October 28, 2010 --( Today, Cleanicity released the results of a 30-day test of its Kitty Litter Gripper Mat conducted by Barbara Meyers of the Holistic Animal Consulting Center.
From this study it can be well understood that the organic wastes like silkworm litter can be used for the production of vermicompost in 1:1 combination with pre-decomposed leaf litters.
PERFECT LITTER ALERT is an easy-to-use product that is ultra lightweight (up to 70% lighter than regular litter) yet absorbs four times more than most other cat litters making it last longer.
b) Because of their complex habitat use, endophages and wood associates may respond both to litter heterogeneity and to the amount of woody habitat, represented by small woody debris and leaf petioles in the treatment litters.
Bedding and litter are other prime areas where less-toxic and more eco-friendly measures can be taken.
Consistent with the hypothesis, Morris (1986) showed that survivorship in large litters of white-footed mice was dramatically less than in smaller litters.
29 SCIENCE, that infanticide is the major source of juvenile mortality among black-tailed prairie dogs, accounting for the total or partial demise of half of all litters born within a 16-acre colony at Wind Cave National Park in South Dakota.
Recently, the research and development team at Healthy Pet (, manufacturers of kocat litters, conducted an in-depth study with cat parents who use clay or natural litters to determine what is most important to them.