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1. adjective Of only minor or modest importance, achievement, or influence. Hyphenated if used before a noun. I'm only small time, so the IRS doesn't give me too much grief. There are a lot of small-time actors here, but a few are really big deals.
2. noun A level minor or modest importance, achievement, or influence. This is your chance to bring your business out of the small time and find some real success.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
A modest or minor level of achievement, as in Her success took her out of the small time to prime-time television. This expression was originally used in vaudeville for second-rate theaters and productions. [Early 1900s] Also see big time, def. 2.
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.
mod. insignificant; petty. Bart was involved in a lot of small-time crime when he was twelve.
McGraw-Hill's Dictionary of American Slang and Colloquial Expressions Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.