less


less
[[t]lɛs[/t]]
adv. a compar. of little with least as superl.
1) to a smaller extent, amount, or degree:
less exact[/ex]
2) most certainly not (often prec. by much or still):
I could barely pay for my own meal, much less for hers[/ex]
3) in any way different; other:
He's nothing less than a thief[/ex]
4) smaller in size, amount, degree, etc.; not so large, great, or much:
less money; less speed[/ex]
5) lower in consideration, rank, or importance:
no less a person than the mayor[/ex]
6) fewer:
less than ten[/ex]
a compar. of little with least as superl.
7) a smaller amount or quantity:
She eats less every day[/ex]
8) something inferior or not as important:
People have been imprisoned for less[/ex]
9) minus; without:
a year less two days[/ex]
Etymology: bef. 900; ME; OE lǣs (adv.), ssa (adj.), c. OFris lēs (adv.), lēssa (adj.). See least usage: Many usage guides say that fewer should be used before plural nouns specifying individuals or distinguishable units: fewer words; no fewer than 31 of the 50 states. less, the guides maintain, should modify only singular mass nouns (less sugar; less money) and singular abstract nouns (less doubt; less power). It should modify plural nouns only when they suggest combination into a unit, group, or aggregation: less than $50 (a sum of money); less than three miles (a unit of distance). Standard English practice does not consistently reflect these distinctions. The use of less or less than where usage guides recommend fewer (than) is common in most varieties of English: less than eight million people; no less than 31 of the 50 states; We did more work with less people. Though these uses are often criticized, they appear to be increasing in frequency.

From formal English to slang. 2014.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

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