小 xiǎo small, in Chinese culture is a perfect example of contradiction.
小 xiǎo small, is used in negative expressions, such as 小人xiǎo rén, small person who is mean and narrow minded; 小三xiǎo sān, is a little three, the third person causing trouble in a love story; 小题大做xiǎotí dàzuò, small issue big act, describes an unnecessary and exaggerated action.
On the other hand, 小 xiǎo, small is cute，small is young, small is showing the affection. People often call their young friends and/or colleagues by adding 小 xiǎo small before their surname (Ex. 小玲Xiǎo Líng”), in order to show their sympathy. 小二xiǎo èr little two, is an old way to call a waiter. 小妹妹 xiǎo mèimèi little sister，小弟弟 xiǎo dìdì little brother are usually used to address the young kids.
小 xiǎo small, is also beautiful. In Chinese tradition, female beauty is 樱桃小口 yīngtáo xiǎokǒu，cherry-like small mouth. Chinese women in Tang Dynasty’s paintings have this particular, vividly red, but tiny mouth. Even in modern Chinese society, most of Chinese people still consider a perfect girl friend should be 小鸟依人 xiǎoniǎo yīrén，little-bird-like tender. 小脚xiǎo jiǎo, little feet, used to be the symbol of female elegance, causing tremendous pain to Chinese women during hundreds years between Song Dynasty and Qing Dynast (960 - 1911).
After all, our favorite expression with 小 xiǎo small, is of course, 小巧玲珑 xiǎoqiǎo líng lóng， small and exquisite !
Xiao Ling and Lao Ling explain to you more détails in the video hereunder.