WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2015
less /lɛs/USA pronunciation adv., [a comparative of little with least as superlative.]
  1. to a smaller length, amount, or degree:a less-developed country.
  2. [much/still + ~] to say nothing of:I could barely pay for my own meal, much less hers.
  3. [with a negative word or phrase] in any way different; other:He's nothing less than a thief.

adj., [a compar. of little with least as superl.]
  • smaller in size, amount, degree, etc.:He has less money than before.
  • lower in consideration, rank, or importance:complained to no less a person than the mayor (= to no one ranking lower than the mayor).
  • fewer:There were less than ten speakers before me.

  • n. [uncountable]
  • a smaller amount or quantity:She eats less every day.
  • something not as important:People have been imprisoned for less.

  • prep. 
  • minus; without;
    subtracting:a year less two days.
  • idiom
    1. Idiomsless and less, to a decreasing extent or degree:I see less and less of my sister these days.


    -less, suffix. 
    • -less is attached to nouns to form adjectives with the meaning "without, not having (the thing or quality named by the noun)'':care + -less → careless; shame + -less → shameless
    • -less is also attached to verbs to form adjectives with the meaning "that cannot be'' plus the -ed/en form of the verb;
      or "that never'' plus the -s form of the verb:tire + -less → tireless (= that never tires); count + -less → countless (= that cannot be counted).

    WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2015
    least /list/USA pronunciation adj., [a superlative of]littlewithlessorlesser as comparative.
    1. smallest in size, amount, degree, etc.;
      slightest;
      lowest in amount:wasn't paying the least attention.

    n. [uncountable; the + ~]
  • something that is least:Your little problem is the least of my worries right now.

  • adv. 
  • [superl. of]little withless as compar. to the smallest extent, amount, or degree:That's the least important question of all.
  • idiom
      at least: 
      • at the lowest estimate or figure:We'll have to pay $500 at least to cover that damage.
      • at any rate; in any case:At least she wasn't hurt.
    1. Idiomsnot in the least, not in the smallest degree:not worried in the least.
    2. to say the least, This expression is used to express the belief that a situation or circumstance is even worse than stated:The result will be terrible inflation, to say the least.



    Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers::

    less /lɛs/ determiner
    1. the comparative of little: less sugar, less spirit than before
    2. (as pronoun; functioning as sing or plural): she has less than she needs, the less you eat, the less you want
    3. (usually preceded by no) lower in rank or importance: no less a man than the president, St James the Less
    4. less ofto a smaller extent or degree: we see less of John these days, less of a success than I'd hoped
    adv
    1. the comparative of little (sense 1): she walks less than she should, less quickly, less beautiful
    prep
    1. subtracting; minus: three weeks less a day
    Etymology: Old English lǣssa (adj), lǣs (adv, n)
    USAGE
    Less should not be confused with fewer. Less refers strictly only to quantity and not to number: there is less water than before. Fewer means smaller in number: there are fewer people than before




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