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1. Small, young children. (An allusion to newly hatched fish; sometimes used as a singular noun, other times pluralized as "small fries.") There's a bouncy castle out the back for the small fry, and we have video games set up in the living room for the older kids. You're still just a small fry; when you're bigger, you can come skateboarding too.
2. By extension, trifling, unimportant, or inconsequential persons or things. (An allusion to newly hatched fish; sometimes used as a singular noun, other times pluralized as "small fries.") I've been trying to raise my concerns about the project, but company's upper management doesn't listen to small fry like me. These investigations could cause problems for us, but they'll be small fries compared to the trouble we'll be in if they discover the money laundering.
1. Lit. newly hatched fish; small, juvenile fish. The catch was bad today. Nothing but small fry.
2. Fig. unimportant people. The police have only caught the small fry. The leader of the gang is still free. You people are just small fry! I want to talk to the boss.
3. Fig. children. Peter's taking the small fry to the zoo. We should take the small fry to the pantomime.
1. Young children, as in This show is not suitable for small fry.
2. Persons of little importance or influence, as in She wasn't about to invite the Washington small fry to the reception. Both usages allude to fry in the sense of "young or small fish." [Late 1800s]
ˈsmall fry(informal) people, groups or businesses that are not considered to be important or powerful: These local companies are only small fry compared to the huge multinationals. OPPOSITE: a big name/noise/shot
1. n. anything or anyone small or unimportant. (Fry are juvenile fish.) Don’t worry about the small fry. You have to please the fat-cats.
2. n. small children. The small fries have eaten and are getting ready for bed.