WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2014
less /lɛs/USA pronunciation  adv., [a comparative oflittle withleast 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. oflittle withleast as superl.]
  1. smaller in size, amount, degree, etc.:He has less money than before.
  2. lower in consideration, rank, or importance:complained to no less a person than the mayor (= to no one ranking lower than the mayor).
  3. fewer:There were less than ten speakers before me.

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

prep. 
  1. minus; without;
    subtracting:a year less two days.
idiom
  1. less 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).


  • 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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