least

adjective
\ ˈlēst How to pronounce least (audio) \

Definition of least

 (Entry 1 of 3)

superlative of little entry 1

1 : lowest in importance or position the least of my worries
2a : smallest in size or degree The least noise would startle her.
b : being a member of a kind distinguished by diminutive size the least bittern
c : smallest possible : slightest believed that the least government was the best government— Irving Stone

least

noun

Definition of least (Entry 2 of 3)

: one that is least
at least
1 : at the minimum at least once a week
2 : in any case at least you have a choice

least

adverb

Definition of least (Entry 3 of 3)

superlative of little entry 2

: in the smallest or lowest degree
least of all
: especially not no one, least of all the children, paid attention

Examples of least in a Sentence

Adverb

Who was the least at fault in the case? He asked me to help him when I least expected it. That was the least important of her reasons. That was the least interesting book I have ever read.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

The share of people aged 12-17 who do so at least once per month has fallen from 60% in 2015 to 39% today. The Economist, "Youngsters are avoiding Facebook—but not the firm’s other platforms," 20 July 2019 Moyo said authorities will continue rationing water to homes in the city at least once a week until the problems are resolved. CNN, "Zimbabwe drought leaves more than two million people without clean water," 17 July 2019 In a recent Saint Louis University study, two out of three women were found to have gone without menstrual products at least once during a year, while 21% went without the products on a monthly basis. Kristin Lam, USA TODAY, "New Hampshire passes bill to require free tampons in public school restrooms," 17 July 2019 Deputies said the home has been struck by a car at least once in the past. Julian Gill, Houston Chronicle, "Man dies after driving through home in northeast Harris County," 16 July 2019 Take a day trip at least once a month The more time couples spend outdoors together, the better, says Eaton. Julie Compton, NBC News, "Forget date nights. This therapist swears by 'day dates' in the wilderness.," 15 July 2019 The hiring of feminist TV writer and actor Phoebe Waller-Bridge to write the script for the film was perhaps the first suggestion that Bond 25 would be in the very least, much more empathetic to its female characters. Tara Edwards, refinery29.com, "The Next James Bond Film Is Getting Its First Black & Female 007," 15 July 2019 Van Spronsen was punched in the face at least once during the altercation. Author: Brian Contreras And Paige Cornwell, Anchorage Daily News, "Armed man attacking Tacoma’s ICE detention center killed in officer-involved shooting," 14 July 2019 According to research by Sage, a resources provider to the promotional products industry, 80 percent of people own as many as 10 promotional products at any time and 53 percent use at least one of those products at least once a week. Georgann Yara, azcentral, "Tempe-based Boompromo is responsible for everything in the swag bag, plus the bag," 13 July 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Respondents were asked to rank 39 possible trends—25 of which were trends from previous years—from 1 (least likely to be a trend) to 10 (most likely to be a trend). Leah Prinzivalli, SELF, "The Top 10 Fitness Trends for 2019, According to Fitness Pros," 1 Nov. 2018 Women nominated for Grammy Awards, for instance, were most likely to be recognized for best new artist or song of the year and least likely to be up for producer of the year. August Brown, latimes.com, "More than 90% of recent Grammy nominees are men, USC study finds," 25 Jan. 2018 As of now, the Power 5 league least likely to be represented in the playoff is the Pac-12, whose teams have steadily beaten each other; only one of its teams is ranked in The A.P.’s top 15. Marc Tracy, New York Times, "Could the College Football Playoff Shut Out 2 Power Conferences?," 30 Oct. 2017 A pre-emptive U.S. military blow can’t be ruled out, but such a strike carries great risk and is among his least likely options. Robert Burns, The Seattle Times, "Pre-emptive US strike on North Korea could be ‘catastrophic’," 6 July 2017 That propels her toward Rex, the bomb-sniffer least likely to be voted Mr. Canine Congeniality. Special To The Washington Post, The Denver Post, "“Megan Leavey” is a canine-human love story," 9 June 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb

Dealing a guard would at least free up a roster spot to give the Spurs additional flexibility during their own free agency chase. Nick Talbot, ExpressNews.com, "Writers’ Roundtable: How is NBA Free Agency going to play out?," 29 June 2019 Marianne Williamson: 'Love will win' over Trump Marianne Williamson may have been the least known of all candidates on the debate stage on Thursday. Christal Hayes, USA TODAY, "Harris challenging Biden on race and Castro blasting Beto on immigration: These are the top moments from the Democratic debates," 28 June 2019 The China National Space Administration has said that at least its next three probes will head to the poles as well. Adam Mann, Scientific American, "The New Scramble for the Moon," 26 June 2019 There are plenty of places to rent rafts, tubes, and kayaks for a day spent on the water, which is least crowded during the week. Kristi Valentini, Woman's Day, "These Summer Vacation Spots Are the Hidden Gems of the Midwest," 25 June 2019 Well, the first wave of Bourbon County labels have been approved for 2019 and there are at least a couple of eyebrow-raisers among them. Josh Noel, chicagotribune.com, "Goose Island's 2019 Bourbon County beer lineup emerging — or is it? Some labels are probably fakes.," 11 June 2019 Perhaps the closure is simply a sign of the times; many of today's rising power brokers may be happier making a deal over a Sweetgreen salad than a lunch whose least expensive entree option is a $36 tuna burger. Sam Dangremond, Town & Country, "The Four Seasons Restaurant Is Closing, Less Than a Year After Moving to a New Location," 10 June 2019 The Naperville bat is among at least a couple other rabid bats found in Will County this year, said Steve Brandy, spokesman for the Will County Health Department. Erin Hegarty, Naperville Sun, "Rabid bat removed from Naperville home," 11 June 2018 Unless something, such as military activity in the Persian Gulf, pushes oil prices higher, ethanol plants will start to shut down with the highest-cost, least-efficient ones idling first. Edward Lotterman, Twin Cities, "Real World Economics: Oil prices, war, and a bad corn crop," 23 June 2019

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

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First Known Use of least

Adjective

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

Noun

12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adverb

13th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for least

Adjective, Noun, and Adverb

Middle English leest, from Old English lǣst, superlative of lǣssa less

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More Definitions for least

least

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of least

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: smallest in amount or degree

least

adverb

English Language Learners Definition of least (Entry 2 of 2)

: in or to the smallest degree

least

adjective
\ ˈlēst How to pronounce least (audio) \

Kids Definition of least

 (Entry 1 of 3)

superlative of little

: smallest in size or degree The least noise startles her.

least

noun

Kids Definition of least (Entry 2 of 3)

: the smallest or lowest amount or degree I don't mind in the least.
at least
1 : not less or fewer than Read at least 20 pages.
2 : in any case At least you have a choice.

least

adverb

Kids Definition of least (Entry 3 of 3)

superlative of little

: in or to the smallest degree You arrived when I least expected you.

least

Medical Definition of least

superlative of little

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More from Merriam-Webster on least

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with least

Spanish Central: Translation of least

Nglish: Translation of least for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of least for Arabic Speakers

Comments on least

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