From Middle English smal, from Old English smæl ("small, narrow, slender"), from Proto-Germanic *smalaz ("small"), from Proto-Indo-European *(s)mal-, *(s)mel-. Cognate with Scots smal; sma; West Frisian smel ("narrow"); Dutch smal ("narrow"); German schmal ("narrow, small"); Danish, Norwegian, Swedish smal; Latin malus ("bad"); Russian ма́лый ("small").
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