less than

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English[edit]

Noun[edit]

less than (plural less thans)

  1. the character <, denoting having a smaller amount or number.

Adjective[edit]

less than (not comparable)

  1. (predicative) inferior in consideration, rank, or importance
    • 2020, Frank Bruni, Mayor Pete Flew Sky High, New York Times:
      he noted that it had "sent a message to every kid out there wondering if whatever marks them out as different means they are somehow destined to be less than."

Usage notes[edit]

When used as an adjective, less than can never be used attributively, but it is also ungrammatical to use it as a postpositive immediately after the word modified. Rather, it must be used postpositively as part of a complement.

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