less

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English[edit]

Wikipedia has articles on:

Wikipedia

Etymology[edit]

From Middle English, from Old English læs, from Proto-Germanic *laisiz.

Pronunciation[edit]

Adverb[edit]

less (not comparable)

  1. To smaller extent.
    • 2013 May-June, Katrina G. Claw, “Rapid Evolution in Eggs and Sperm”, American Scientist, volume 101, number 3: 
      In plants, the ability to recognize self from nonself plays an important role in fertilization, because self-fertilization will result in less diverse offspring than fertilization with pollen from another individual.
  2. In lower degree.
    This is a less bad solution than I thought possible.
    • 1898, Winston Churchill, chapter 8, The Celebrity:
      I corralled the judge, and we started off across the fields, in no very mild state of fear of that gentleman's wife, whose vigilance was seldom relaxed. And thus we came by a circuitous route to Mohair, the judge occupied by his own guilty thoughts, and I by others not less disturbing.
    • 2012 November 7, Matt Bai, “Winning a Second Term, Obama Will Confront Familiar Headwinds”, New York Times:
      That brief moment after the election four years ago, when many Americans thought Mr. Obama’s election would presage a new, less fractious political era, now seems very much a thing of the past.

Antonyms[edit]

Translations[edit]

Adjective[edit]

less (superlative least)

  1. (now archaic except with numbers) comparative form of little: more little; smaller. [from 11th c.]
    • 1624, John Smith, Generall Historie, in Kupperman 1988, p. 141:
      Those Rattels are somewhat like the chape of a Rapier, but lesse [...].
  2. A smaller amount (of); not as much. [from 14th c.]
    • 2013 May-June, William E. Conner, “An Acoustic Arms Race”, American Scientist, volume 101, number 3, page 206-7: 
      Earless ghost swift moths become “invisible” to echolocating bats by forming mating clusters close (less than half a meter) above vegetation and effectively blending into the clutter of echoes that the bat receives from the leaves and stems around them.
    I have less than you have;  I have less tea than coffee.
  3. (proscribed) A smaller number of; fewer. [from 9th c.]
    • 1952, Thomas M Pryor, New York Times, 7 Sep 1952:
      This is not a happy situation as far as the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employes is concerned because it means less jobs for the union's members here at home.
    • 1999, George RR Martin, A Clash of Kings, Bantam 2011, p. 555:
      No less than four standard-bearers went before them, carrying huge crimson banners emblazoned with the golden lion.
    • 2003, Timandra Harkness, The Guardian, 16 Dec 2003:
      Although my hosts, G S Aviation, can teach you to fly in Wiltshire, an intensive week at their French airfield means less problems with the weather, cheap but good living, and complete removal from any distractions.

Usage notes[edit]

Some[†] regard the use of the determiner less with quantities to be incorrect, stating that less should indicate only a reduction in size or significance, leaving fewer to indicate a smaller quantity:

  • Their troubles are fewer than ours, meaning "Their troubles are not so numerous as ours."
  • Their troubles are less than ours, meaning "Their troubles are not so great as ours."

In typical usage this distinction is absent, and less has been widely understood and commonly used as a synonym for fewer since it first appeared in Old English as læs.

Antonyms[edit]

Translations[edit]

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.

See also[edit]

Preposition[edit]

less

  1. Minus; not including
    It should then tax all of that as personal income, less the proportion of the car's annual mileage demonstrably clocked up on company business.

Antonyms[edit]

Translations[edit]

Verb[edit]

less (third-person singular simple present lesses, present participle lessing, simple past and past participle lessed)

  1. (obsolete) To make less; to lessen.
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Gower to this entry?)

Derived terms[edit]

Conjunction[edit]

less

  1. (obsolete) unless
    (Can we find and add a quotation of Ben Jonson to this entry?)

Statistics[edit]


Lombard[edit]

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

less m (invariable)

  1. boiled meat

Polish[edit]

Polish Wikipedia has an article on:

Wikipedia pl

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

less m

  1. loess

Declension[edit]

Derived terms[edit]