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

Whenever the least amount of interruptions will happen. Adam Rathe, Town & Country, "Why Tabitha Soren Thinks Failure is a Relief," 9 Apr. 2019 Here is a ranking of the Costco food court menu items, from our least favorite to best the best in-store eats. Alex Aronson, Redbook, "The 14 Best Costco Food Court Menu Items, Ranked," 4 Apr. 2019 Of the three phases of matter—gas, liquid and solid—scientists pay the least amount of attention to liquids. James Kakalios, WSJ, "‘Liquid Rules’ Review: Going With the Flow," 7 Mar. 2019 Unlock options Speaking of the fingerprint sensor, the G8 still has a standard one on the back, but that’s the least convenient way to unlock it. Michael Simon, PCWorld, "LG G8 hands-on: Could the future of smartphones be in the palm of my hand?," 24 Feb. 2019 The Best Lawn Machines With deck sizes ranging from 32 inches to 60 inches, these mowers cut the most grass in the least amount of time. Roy Berendsohn, Popular Mechanics, "The Lawn Mower Buyer's Guide: Everything You Need to Know to Buy the Right Mower," 22 Feb. 2019 Neither of those possibilities seems terribly likely, at least in the near future. Alison Gopnik, WSJ, "What AI Is Still Far From Figuring Out," 20 Mar. 2019 The only thing that could pull me away from said obsessive QE3 viewing is, of course the Fab Five—or four of them at least—on Jimmy Kimmel Live! Taylor Mead, House Beautiful, "If a Queer Eye and Marie Kondo Crossover Episode Happens, I'll Need CPR," 20 Mar. 2019 Although the existence of an association is still up for debate, some researchers believe that the connection lies, at least in part, in a lack of sleep. Kristin Auble, SELF, "9 Facts to Know About Restless Legs Syndrome," 16 Mar. 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

Photo: Anthony Souffle/Star Tribune via AP A Morning Consult poll from April 2017 reported that Mr. Christie was the least popular governor in the U.S. and cited the George Washington Bridge lane-closure scandal as a key reason for his poor numbers. Joseph De Avila, WSJ, "Sen. Booker’s Presidential Run Leaves New Jersey Lukewarm, Poll Says," 14 Feb. 2019 But this will at least determine if the drive is the part that failed. Alexander George, Popular Mechanics, "How to Recover Your Data from a Dead Hard Drive," 17 Jan. 2019 Malloy, who decided not to seek a third term, was shown by some polls to be the least popular governor in the nation, with critics citing the state's high taxes and major budget woes. Chris Stirewalt, Fox News, "Primaries in four states test limits of Dem surge," 14 Aug. 2018 Murphy argues that the state needs sustainable revenue to invest after years of cost-cutting from Christie, a Republican who left office as the least popular governor on record. Andrew Seidman, Philly.com, "Democrats have one-party rule in Trenton. Why can't they agree on taxes?," 13 June 2018 The analysis by the Center for American Progress ranks Arizona as the third-least affordable state for summer programs, trailing only Nevada and New York. The Republic | azcentral.com, "Think you’re paying a lot for summer child care? You’re not the only one," 11 June 2018 Energy Tips Use Your Car Strategically If there’s an autonomous electric vehicle in your family or circle of friends, garage it at the home with the least predictable generation, where its battery can even out demand. Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, "The World of 2045," 14 Oct. 2018 Bette Midler, too, seemed fine with the name change, at least on one condition. Fox News, "Dunkin' Donuts name change met with frustration, apathy on Twitter," 28 Sep. 2018 Denisovans are known to have at least resided in the Denisova cave in Siberia, where the remains of Denisova 11 were found. Prince Shakur, Teen Vogue, "Scientists Discover Remains of an Ancient Human Hybrid," 25 Aug. 2018

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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not to be persuaded, moved, or stopped

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