Petit à petit

Petit à petit
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Gradual French Expression

Meaning little by little, bit by bit, gradually
Literally little to little
Register normal
Pronunciation French sound files [peu tee tah peu tee]
IPA   [pə ti ta pə ti]

Usage notes: The adverbial expression petit à petit describes an ongoing process, a series of distinct steps that lead to a final product or resolution.

Par exemple…

Il faut remplir tous ces formulaires, petit à petit.   We have to fill out all these forms, little by little.
Le nouveau gérant réduit nos avantages, petit à petit.   The new manager is chipping away at our perks.

Proverb: Petit à petit, l’oiseau fait son nid.

  • literally, "Bit by bit, the bird makes its nest."
  • A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
  • Slow and steady wins the race.

Synonymous expressions

  • par morceaux
  • par petites touches
  • progressivement

 Peu à peu

In contrast to petit à petit, the expression peu à peu is used when the evolution occurs without clearly distinguishable steps or phases.

Par exemple…

La situation s’améliore peu à peu.   The situation is getting better, little by little.
L’eau monte peu à peu.   The water is gradually rising.

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Petit à petit

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