less
Pronunciation
Adverb

less (not comparable)

  1. To a smaller extent or degree.
    This gadget is less useful than I expected.
    I like him less each time I see him.
    • 1957, Lester Del Rey, Rockets Through Space: The Story of Man's Preparations to Explore the Universe:
      This section of space is much less empty than that between the stars, […]
Antonyms Translations
Determiner
  1. (Now chiefly of numbers or dimensions) comparative form of little; of inferior size, degree or extent; smaller, lesser. [from 11th c.]
    • 1624, John Smith, Generall Historie, in Kupperman 1988, page 141:
      Those Rattels are somewhat like the chape of a Rapier, but lesse, which they take from the taile of a snake.
    • 1711,The Spectator, no. 126:
      We are likewise ready to maintain with the hazard of all that is near and dear to us, that six is less than seven in all times and all places […] .
  2. A smaller amount of; not as much. [from 12th c.]
    I have less tea than coffee.
    You have even less sense than an inanimate object.
  3. (sometimes proscribed) Fewer; a smaller number of. [from 14th c.]
    There are less people here now.
    Now there are three less green bottles hanging on the wall.
    • 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, page 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.
Antonyms Translations Translations
Preposition
  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 Translations
Verb

less (lesses, present participle lessing; past and past participle lessed)

  1. (archaic) To make less; to lessen.
    • 1386-90, Gower, Confessio Amantis
      What he will make lesse, he lesseth.
    • c. 1650, Patrick Gordon of Ruthven, A short Abridgement of Britane's Distemper, from the yeares of God 1639 to 1649, printed 1844 for the Spalding Club
      Som of the wiser sort, divining upon this vission, attrebute to the pen-knyves the lenth of tym before this should com to pass, and it hath been observed by sindrie that the earles of that hous befor wer the richest in the kingdom, having treasure and store besyde them, but ever since the addittion of this so great a revenue, they have lessed the stock by heavie burdens of debt and ingagment.
    • 1816, "Joseph Wharton" [obituary notice], Poulson's Advertiser, quoted in Genealogy of the Wharton Family of Philadelphia: 1664 to 1880, Anne Hollingsworth Wharton (1880)
      The protracted term of life, and the lingering illness through which this gentleman had passed, had neither impaired the original vigour of his mind, nor lessed the uncommon warmth of his affections.

Noun

less (uncountable)

  1. A smaller amount or quantity.
    Less is better.
    I have less to do today than yesterday.

Conjunction
  1. (obsolete) unless



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