least

adjective
\ ˈlēst \

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

Most hikers—those of you who go backpacking at least once a year, on trips lasting one to five nights—need a middle-ground backpack. Kelly Bastone, Outside Online, "The Best Women’s Backpacking Packs," 13 July 2018 Baumgardt fired three shots at Pickett, who was struck at least once. Holly V. Hays, Indianapolis Star, "Authorities charge 2 more men in death of Boone County Deputy Jacob Pickett," 11 July 2018 Twitter has 336 million users logging in monthly, but many of the frozen profiles were not active at least once a month. Elizabeth Dwoskin, chicagotribune.com, "Twitter begins removing millions of accounts in crackdown on fake profiles," 11 July 2018 In a survey of tens of thousands of people, 14% reported using stimulants at least once in the preceding 12 months in 2017, up from 5% in 2015. Arran Frood, Scientific American, "Use of “Smart Drugs” on the Rise," 6 July 2018 Empty and clean birdbaths and pet's water bowls at least once or twice a week. Naseem S. Miller, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Orange County issues advisory for mosquito-borne disease," 3 July 2018 Gilpin and Powell had met at least once, in Denver City, on the Major’s first trip west in 1867. Johnforristerross, Longreads, "Taming the Great American Desert," 2 July 2018 Players on the ballot were nominated for being chosen all-conference first team at least once during their careers, or for making the all-conference second team multiple times. Christopher Hanna, courant.com, "Three Huskies Nominated For American Athletic Conference Fifth Anniversary Team," 2 July 2018 Police fired at Mbegbu, striking him at least once. Bree Burkitt, azcentral, "Police: Officer fatally shot 19-year-old in a struggle over a handgun," 30 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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

Transparency International ranked it the sixth least corrupt state. Shlomo Angel, WSJ, "‘Building and Dwelling’ Review: A Manifesto for the Open City," 6 July 2018 But the president believes, at least on the surface, that Kim Jong un is willing to do that. Fox News, "How Trump differs from past presidents on North Korea," 12 June 2018 Many of the players had, at least on the Argentine side, friends or relatives who had been conscripted, maybe even lost their life. CNN, "How Diego Maradona redefined football in the space of less than five minutes," 11 June 2018 Mike Trout — if not the game’s best player, at least on the loveseat — saw 24 guys taken before him. Nick Canepa, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Vets like Cluck help reduce inherent risk of baseball draft," 10 June 2018 In that regard, Grail’s actually doing pretty well, at least on the Eastern Front. Megan Molteni, WIRED, "A Blood-Based Cancer Test Gets Its First Results," 3 June 2018 Folks who like video games but, for whatever reason, don't have an easy time holding or using a traditional console controller now have a new option, at least on the Xbox One. Eric Limer, Popular Mechanics, "Microsoft's New Customizable Xbox Controller Helps Make Video Games Way More Accessible," 17 May 2018 The members of Joshua Salas’ family of five have endured an unfortunate slew of medical problems, but the Affordable Care Act’s protections for people with pre-existing or chronic conditions have made their situation at least manageable. Austin Horn, San Antonio Express-News, "With ACA under attack, a family racked by illness wonders what will happen to their health coverage," 13 July 2018 The charges against the GRU make clear that its effort began at least by March 2016. Garrett M. Graff, WIRED, "Indicting 12 Russian Hackers Could Be Mueller's Biggest Move Yet," 13 July 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

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

Noun

see least entry 1

Adverb

see least entry 1

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Statistics for least

Last Updated

16 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for least

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

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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 \

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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Comments on least

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