1

less

play
adjective \ ˈles \

Definition of less

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
3 a :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 vs. fewer

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

  1. We need less talk and more work!

  2. She finished in less time than I did.

  3. Less detail is sometimes better than more detail.

  4. 8 times 2 is less than 6 times 3.

  5. We made it there in less than six hours.

  6. The whole procedure takes less than five minutes.

  7. The illness affects less than one percent of the population.

Recent Examples of less from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of less

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


2

less

adverb

Definition of less

: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

Examples of less in a Sentence

  1. This test seemed much less difficult than the last one.

  2. Which test is the less difficult of the two?

  3. Do you have another one that's less expensive?

  4. She visits much less often than she used to.

  5. They're focusing more on quality and less on quantity.

  6. Their band is less concerned with making music than with making money.

Recent Examples of less from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of less

see 1less


3

less

noun

Definition of less

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

Origin and Etymology of less

see 1less


4

less

preposition

Definition of less

:diminished by :minus

Examples of less in a Sentence

  1. We earned two hundred dollars, less travel expenses.

Origin and Etymology of less

see 1less


-less

adjective suffix

Definition of -less

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

Examples of -less in a Sentence

  1. my first painless day since leaving the hospital

Origin and Etymology of -less

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


LESS Defined for English Language Learners

less

play
adjective

Definition of less for English Language Learners

  • : not so much : smaller in amount or number


less

adverb

Definition of less for English Language Learners

  • : not so much : to a smaller extent or degree


less

preposition

Definition of less for English Language Learners

  • : after taking away or subtracting (something)


-less

adjective suffix

Definition of -less for English Language Learners

  • : not having something specified : without something

  • : never doing or becoming something specified

  • : not able to be acted on in a specified way


LESS Defined for Kids

1

less

play
adjective \ ˈles \

Definition of less for Students

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

2

less

adverb

Definition of less for Students

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

3

less

noun

Definition of less for Students

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.

4

less

preposition

Definition of less for Students

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

-less

adjective suffix \ ləs \

Definition of -less for Students

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

Medical Dictionary

less, lesser

medical Definition of less



Seen and Heard

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