runt of the litter

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

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
References in periodicals archive ?
The runt of the litter, the adorable little piglet could have died when her mother rejected her.
Looks can be deceiving; this runt of the litter was strong.
Even the runt of the litter (the Buffalo Bills) is worth $1.6 billion.
Mum-of-three Elaine, a worker at the Prince Charles Hospital, said: "My son's dog had puppies and Coco was the runt of the litter. She was so little she could fit in your hand.
Teamster leader Jimmy Hoffa, a dangerous enemy, dismissed him as "the runt of the litter," an unintentional compliment.
Runtamuffin is a loveable hen who grows from being the runt of the litter to become leader of the group and everyone's favorite barnyard critter.
"She was the runt of the litter, with a wonky ear and a jut jaw, and I fell for her straight away.
Dan has finally got the keys to his own flat, sending his mum (Gwyneth Powell) into tears: "He won't survive, he's the runt of the litter and I only had him."
When I was at his kennel and in the process of selecting my last pup, a little firecracker I named Suki, I paid her scant attention; she was the runt of the litter and I had my eyes on another.
The runt of the litter, the sad little piggy had been bottle fed since he was three weeks old because his mum ignored him.
She looks for the runt of the litter because she's the alpha, she's rich, she has everything she needs and all she has to do is walk in her with her swagger, just from being who she is.
That just leaves the runt of the litter, Diego Simeone's powerful Atletico Madrid side.
I was the runt of the litter, the 'entertainment', the one languishing at the bottom of the leader board by the end of the show.
"Maybe he was the runt of the litter, and when the rest got scared off by the lorry being loaded, he got left behind.