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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 ?
I separated litters at the population median of the litter-size distribution into large ([is greater than or equal to] 5) and small ( < 5) size classes.
They usually attack litters after nursing has stopped, Hoogland explains, and infanticide does not reduce the time until the next female estrus.
The winner of the contest (to be announced on Earth Day, April 22, 2011), will receive an environmentally-friendly Litter-Robot[TM] ECO Unit and biodegradable litter pan liners.
One advantage that makers of these specialty litters feel appeals to cat owners with environmental concerns is that alternative litters--because they are made of biodegradable substances--present less strain on landfills.
The cat litters are available in resealable, recyclable bags and, while supplies last, the company is offering instant savings of $2 to $4 per bag to promote the product.
Larger litters may have been truncated to 12 either by loss of young during pregnancy or by the females eating newborns before we could find and count them.
Sierra had 10 pups in her first litter two years ago, five of which featured the uncommon tri-color markings of brown, black and white.
Columbian ground squirrels do not pay short-term phenotypic "costs" for larger litters, in terms of decreased parental survival or smaller subsequent litters (Murie and Dobson 1987, Hare and Murie 1992), although we should point out that the latter study lacked sufficient sample sizes.
The design helps to protect the landfills, and yet does everything that clay litters do.
Additionally, alternative litters are made of materials that often give off little to no dust--which can be a benefit to a cat with upper respiratory issues.
Howard London: Natural and alternative cat litters have seen the most dramatic growth over the past few years as cat owners are discovering the benefits of using premium products.
From litters that claim to stop ammonia buildup to diagnostic litters that monitor cat health to neon-colored litter to gel-based litter to reduce tracking, we can choose almost any attribute, assuming we're willing to pay more for, well, litter.
Nyanko Planet is launching the six-new cat litters, including the Tofu Litter for American Shorthair, Tofu Litter for British Shorthair, Super Woody for Shorthair Cats, Tofu Litter for Shorthair and Longhair Cats, Paper Pallet Litter for Recovery and Plant Blended Mineral Litter, and plans to debut in Asia-Pacific countries such as Singapore, Malaysia, China and Australia early next year.
Healthy Pet announced that its okocat natural cat litters are now available at more than 4,000 retail stores across North America.
5 to 8 litters injection moulded dust bins,10 litters blow moulded dust bins,120/240 liters flat lid roto moulded wheeled bins,100 litters roto moulded waste bins with swing lid,90 litters roto moulded wheeled bins,50 litters free stand litters roto moulded bins,50 litters pole mounted roto moulded bins,50 litters wheeled Bins blow moulded with S.