What does a “litter of puppies” mean?
A litter of puppies refers to a number of puppies born at the same time by the same female dog. The female dog is the mother of these puppies and these puppies are brother and sister to each other.
The noun litter isn’t solely used to refer to a number of puppies born at the same time. A litter can be used when talking about many different animals such as a litter of kittens, a litter of cubs, etc.
You may have heard the expression “the runt of the litter” before. This expression literally means the smallest animal from the litter so the smallest kitten from a litter of kittens or the smallest puppy from a litter of puppies.
However, we also have the figurative expression “the runt of the family”. This doesn’t refer to the smallest child in the family. Instead, it refers to a family member that is often made fun of or the family member that causes most of the trouble or controversies.