E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
Little by little. Gradually; a little at a time.
Many a little makes a mickle. The real Scotch proverb is: A wheen o mickles maks a muckle, where mickle means little, and muckle much; but the Anglo-Saxon micel or mycel means much, so that, if the Scotch proverb is accepted, we must give a forced meaning to the word mickle.