- (idiomatic, negative polarity item) Much less; to say nothing of; used after one negative clause to introduce another, usually broader and more important clause, whose negation is implied by the negation of the first. However either of these instances mentioned can be applied with the use of let alone.
He couldn't boil water, let alone prepare a dinner for eight.
- (idiomatic, positive polarity item, rare) not to mention, as well as; used after one item, to introduce a further item which is entailed by the first.
- Sometimes used with the order of items reversed.
to say nothing of
as well as
- Charles J. Fillmore, Paul Kay, Catherine O'Connor (September 1988) "Regularity and idiomaticity in grammatical constructions: The case of let alone" Language (Vol.64 No.3) pp.501-538
- Mark Liberman (24 February 2011) "Much less/Or even" Language Log
- E. Ward Gilman (editor) Merriam–Webster's Dictionary of English Usage p.596, Merriam–Webster, 1994 →ISBN.
- (transitive) To leave alone, let be; to stop bothering.
I wish he would let me alone so I could get some sleep.