less

adjective
\ ˈles How to pronounce less (audio) \

Definition of less

 (Entry 1 of 5)

comparative of little entry 1

1 : constituting a more limited number or amount less than three less than half done
2 : of lower rank, degree, or importance no less a person than the president himself
3a : of reduced size, extent, or degree
b : more limited in quantity in less time
no less
used to emphasize that something is regarded as impressive or surprising wants to be driven to the airport, in a limousine no less

less

adverb

Definition of less (Entry 2 of 5)

comparative of little entry 2

: to a lesser extent or degree
less and less
: to a progressively smaller size or extent
less than
: by no means : not at all less than honest in his replies

less

noun
plural less

Definition of less (Entry 3 of 5)

1 : a smaller portion or quantity
2 : something of less importance

Definition of less (Entry 4 of 5)

: diminished by : minus

Definition of -less (Entry 5 of 5)

1 : destitute of : not having witless childless
2 : unable to be acted on or to act (in a specified way) dauntless fadeless

Synonyms & Antonyms for less

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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Less vs. Fewer: Usage Guide

Adjective

The traditional view is that less applies to matters of degree, value, or amount and modifies collective nouns, mass nouns, or nouns denoting an abstract whole while fewer applies to matters of number and modifies plural nouns. Less has been used to modify plural nouns since the days of King Alfred and the usage, though roundly decried, appears to be increasing. Less is more likely than fewer to modify plural nouns when distances, sums of money, and a few fixed phrases are involved less than 100 miles an investment of less than $2000 in 25 words or less and as likely as fewer to modify periods of time. in less (or fewer) than four hours

Examples of less in a Sentence

Adjective We need less talk and more work! She finished in less time than I did. Less detail is sometimes better than more detail. 8 times 2 is less than 6 times 3. We made it there in less than six hours. The whole procedure takes less than five minutes. The illness affects less than one percent of the population. Adverb This test seemed much less difficult than the last one. Which test is the less difficult of the two? Do you have another one that's less expensive? She visits much less often than she used to. They're focusing more on quality and less on quantity. Their band is less concerned with making music than with making money. Preposition We earned two hundred dollars, less travel expenses. Adjective suffix my first painless day since leaving the hospital See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Because the fiberglass is relatively lightweight, a do-it-yourselfer can install it in a weekend or less with a helper or two. Samantha S. Thorpe, Better Homes & Gardens, 29 July 2022 Current standards require evacuations to take 90 seconds or less for all passengers using half of the available emergency exists. Zach Wichter, USA TODAY, 29 July 2022 Zoe’s schedule allowed for a 15-minute lunch, while one former employee in Kentucky was told to restrict naps to 10 minutes or less. Erika Fry, Fortune, 29 July 2022 Listings for homes priced at $100,000 or less were down 21.4% in June from a year earlier, while those listed for between $100,000 and $250,000 were down 12.4%, according to Realtor.com. CBS News, 28 July 2022 The first two practices of Colts training camp have ended in 80 minutes or less, a relatively short time for practices, even in the modern NFL. The Indianapolis Star, 28 July 2022 Cut your news consumption down to 45 minutes or less, once a day. Arthur C. Brooks, The Atlantic, 28 July 2022 Consumers and businesses then presumably borrow and spend less, cooling the economy and slowing inflation. Christopher Rugaber, Chicago Tribune, 27 July 2022 Consumers and businesses then presumably borrow and spend less, cooling the economy and slowing inflation. Christopher Rugaber, ajc, 27 July 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb The rise of fracking, which extracts oil and gas from shale rock, unlocked cheap domestic supplies while cleaner energy provided by wind and solar farms became far less expensive. Christopher M. Matthews, WSJ, 30 July 2022 Down alternative duvet inserts are typically less expensive than down duvet inserts because the fill fibers are more affordable to produce. Amanda Constantine, Good Housekeeping, 29 July 2022 Weather aside, plane tickets are known to be less expensive during this time. Isis Briones, House Beautiful, 29 July 2022 Sinema backed Manchin last year in insisting on making the legislation less expensive but objected to proposals to raise tax rates, and the spokeswoman referred a reporter to her comments last year supporting a corporate minimum tax. Alan Fram, Chicago Tribune, 28 July 2022 With origins in Japan, panko bread crumbs are flakier, larger, and less dense than typical bread crumbs. Karla Walsh, Better Homes & Gardens, 27 July 2022 Both sides of this debate have steered clear of expensive TV ads so far, instead starting out with less expensive social media and other digital ads. Jon Chesto, BostonGlobe.com, 27 July 2022 Additionally, of those planning to move in the next 24 months, 37% plan to move to a less expensive location. Jasmine Browley, Essence, 27 July 2022 Sinema backed Manchin last year in insisting on making the legislation less expensive but objected to proposals to raise tax rates, and the spokeswoman referred a reporter to her comments last year supporting a corporate minimum tax. Alan Fram, Anchorage Daily News, 27 July 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Jobless and benefit-less: What should COVID-19's economic victims do for health insurance? Shefali Luthra, Phil Galewitz And Rachel Bluth, USA TODAY, 3 Apr. 2020 Hassett warned that March job lesses could be among the worst on record. Kathryn Watson, CBS News, 20 Mar. 2020 But that doesn't make the scar (and the fall that preceded it) any less of an emotional trauma. Leah Prinzivalli, Allure, 8 Oct. 2018 The have-lesses would dig in and hope to sneak something on the break. Joshua Robinson, WSJ, 17 June 2018 Sometimes burp-less is used as a marketing term for Asian varieties of cucumbers. The Editors Of Organic Life, Good Housekeeping, 19 May 2017 Studying at home makes child care less of an obstacle and cuts out commuting time. Cliff Pinckard, cleveland.com, 4 Feb. 2018 The Giants were shut out for the first time 13 years at Arizona, pulse-less on offense. Peter King, SI.com, 26 Dec. 2017 Sleek and Brushed Back Another way to help to minimize the exposure of the scalp is to go part-less with a sleek, brushed back, wet look. Wendy Sy, Allure, 24 Oct. 2017 Recent Examples on the Web: Preposition Get ready for a lot less facial hair on your television. Megan Friedman, Country Living, 17 Nov. 2016 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'less.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of less

Adjective

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adverb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Preposition

1623, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for less

Adjective, Adverb, Noun, and Preposition

Middle English, partly from Old English lǣs, adverb & noun; partly from lǣssa, adjective; akin to Old Frisian lēs less

Adjective suffix

Middle English -les, -lesse, from Old English -lēas, from lēas devoid, false; akin to Old High German lōs loose, Old English losian to get lost — more at lose

Learn More About less

Time Traveler for less

Time Traveler

The first known use of less was before the 12th century

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near less

Lesquerella

less

-less

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Statistics for less

Last Updated

1 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Less.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/less. Accessed 12 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for less

less

adjective
\ ˈles How to pronounce less (audio) \

Kids Definition of less

 (Entry 1 of 5)

comparative of little

1 : being fewer Less than ten people showed up.
2 : not so much : a smaller amount of We need less talk and more action.

less

adverb

Kids Definition of less (Entry 2 of 5)

comparative of little

: not so much or so well This quiz is less difficult than the last.

less

noun

Kids Definition of less (Entry 3 of 5)

1 : a smaller number or amount They made do with less.
2 : something that is not as important You're lucky. I've been grounded for less.

less

preposition

Kids Definition of less (Entry 4 of 5)

: minus entry 1 sense 1 Your cost is the regular price less a discount.

-less

adjective suffix
\ ləs \

Kids Definition of -less

1 : not having friendless
2 : not able to be acted on or to act in a specified way ceaseless

less, lesser

Medical Definition of less

comparative of little

More from Merriam-Webster on less

Nglish: Translation of less for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of less for Arabic Speakers

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