- superlative form of little; the smallest amount or quantity of [something].
- He earns the least money in his family. Of all the sisters, she has the least patience. I can only afford to pay the least of the bills.
- 1857, Edmund March Blunt, The American Coast Pilot: Containing Directions for the Principal Harbors, E. & G.W. Blunt, page 135:
- The least water we could find there was 4 fathoms, which bears from the point S.E., and is distant 1½ mile.
, Duncan's Travels
- To have demolished and rebuilt the walls, would have been a very costly expedient, and as the least of two evils, the painter's brush was resorted to; here and there however, above some of the windows, the black wreathings of the smoke are still discernible through the white covering.
- 2004, Jim Baggott, Beyond Measure: Modern Physics, Philosophy, and the Meaning of Quantum Theory, Oxford University Press, page 48:
- Light does not need to know in advance which is the path of least time because it takes all paths from its source to its destination.
- French: le moindre (cf. moindre), le plus petit
- German: geringst, kleinst, minimalst
- Italian: minimo
- Portuguese: mínimo
- Russian: наиме́ньший
- Spanish: mínimo
- Used for forming superlatives of adjectives, especially those that do not form the superlative by adding -est.
- It was the least surprising thing.
- In the smallest or lowest degree; in a degree below all others.
- to reward those who least deserve it
least (plural leasts)Adjective Prepositional phrase
- (informal, nonstandard) At least.