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

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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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective What’s the benefit of pricing a home at less than fair value? oregonlive, 15 Sep. 2021 That’s less than the price of just one bitcoin, which has been bouncing between $44,000 and $52,000 in recent days. BostonGlobe.com, 15 Sep. 2021 For now, additional smoke upstream seems less than in prior days, although modeling smoke is notoriously tough. Washington Post, 14 Sep. 2021 Organizers invited 400 guests, less than the number that usually attend. Leanne Italie, Chron, 14 Sep. 2021 Working from home, often in less-than-ideal environments, has also introduced a whole new host of distractions. Barnaby Lashbrooke, Forbes, 14 Sep. 2021 Louisville football was able to get into the win column Saturday night with a less than dramatic 30-3 win over Eastern Kentucky. Dominique Yates, The Courier-Journal, 14 Sep. 2021 Do children really spread Covid-19 less than adults? Sara Reardon, Smithsonian Magazine, 14 Sep. 2021 Some want the Treasury to define underserved areas as anything less than download and upload speeds of 100 Mbps. The Christian Science Monitor, 14 Sep. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb Feedback can be valuable and offer amazing learning opportunities, but real-time feedback may be less likely to happen in a virtual environment. Ashish Kaushal, Forbes, 16 Sep. 2021 These vehicles are less likely to have alarms, tend to be more accessible and have older model catalytic converters which contain greater amounts of precious metals. Diane Bell Columnist, San Diego Union-Tribune, 16 Sep. 2021 Previous Trevor Project research shows that LGBTQ athletes are less likely to be out about their identity compared to LGBTQ youth who are not involved in sports. Marc Ramirez, USA TODAY, 16 Sep. 2021 Black Wisconsinites had been less likely to die in car crashes than whites and Hispanics until about 2013. Drake Bentley, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 16 Sep. 2021 The data reveal a clear divide by geography along the two measures, with residents in smaller, more rural places less likely to support Newson and getting vaccinated, according to the analysis. Matt Stiles, Los Angeles Times, 15 Sep. 2021 Children who are able to attend preschool and receive child care stay in school, are less likely to commit crimes, and have better health outcomes, according to the report. NBC News, 15 Sep. 2021 Those who are vaccinated are significantly less likely to be hospitalized and die from the disease compared to those who are not vaccinated. Clara Hendrickson, Detroit Free Press, 14 Sep. 2021 For example, women in some instances are less likely to be shown ads for high-paying executive positions than men. Jasmine Browley, Essence, 14 Sep. 2021 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

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.

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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

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Learn More About less

Time Traveler for less

Time Traveler

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

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Dictionary Entries Near less

Lesquerella

less

-less

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Statistics for less

Last Updated

18 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Less.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/less. Accessed 22 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for less

less

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of less

 (Entry 1 of 4)

: not so much : smaller in amount or number

less

adverb

English Language Learners Definition of less (Entry 2 of 4)

: not so much : to a smaller extent or degree

less

preposition

English Language Learners Definition of less (Entry 4 of 4)

: after taking away or subtracting (something)

-less

adjective suffix

English Language Learners Definition of -less (Entry 5 of 4)

: not having something specified : without something
: never doing or becoming something specified
: not able to be acted on in a specified way

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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