not a little pleased

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Senior Member
Can anyone say whether in the citation below:

We were not a little pleased = we were not pleased at all
We were not a little pleased = we were not a little but much pleased

Thanks in advance.

We were not a little pleased with ourselves, as you can imagine.
  • xqby

    Senior Member
    English (U.S.)
    For your first notion, the more common phrasing would be "We were not even a little pleased," which is why I'd assume it's the second.
    Last edited:


    Senior Member
    USA - English
    "not a little ______" is a common usage in English. It has the second meaning you have suggested above: not a little, but a great deal.

    Not a little pleased = very pleased
    Not a little annoyed = really annoyed
    Not a little astonished = truly astonished
    not a little disconcerted = quite disconcerted

    Considering that it is such a standard usage, it is not really ambiguous.
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