A tad

Growing up in New Zealand I don’t recall the expression “a tad” being used very much at all but subsequent return visits have confirmed that it is now a firm fixture in local language.

Its origins seem to be in the US and as an abbreviation of tadpole (the baby frog), used to refer to a small child. Reference materials for British English also attribute a similar meaning.

We use it however in two main forms: as a noun

tad1

How much milk do you take in your coffee? Just a tad, not too much

 And as an adverb to mean slightly,

I’m running a tad late. I’ll get there as soon as I can

tad2 

Today will be a tad chilly with temperatures reaching a high of 12 degrees.

 He’s a tad drunk, can’t you tell?

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