1 of 2


less·​er ˈle-sər How to pronounce lesser (audio)

comparative of little entry 1

: of less size, quality, degree, or significance : of lower status


2 of 2


: less

Examples of lesser in a Sentence

Adjective The winner will receive $100; lesser amounts will be given to three runners-up. A lesser man than he might have simply given up. She agreed to plead guilty to a lesser charge.
Recent Examples on the Web
Toronto’s Fred VanVleet appears to be the top target, but Miami’s Kyle Lowry, Utah’s Mike Conley and, perhaps to a lesser extent, Charlotte’s Terry Rozier have been linked to the team at various points. Staff Writer follow, Los Angeles Times, 3 Feb. 2023 The story of 2022 (and 2021 to a lesser extent) was energy. Nicole Goodkind, CNN, 31 Jan. 2023 To successfully reap such benefits, your business should prepare for greater integration through a three-fold approach focusing on business practices, people and to a lesser extent, government. Alberto Villarreal, Forbes, 26 Jan. 2023 Many landlords see renting to single women alone or in groups (and single men, to a lesser extent) as a risk — to the stability of families, to the reputations of neighborhoods. Damien Cave, New York Times, 18 Jan. 2023 To a lesser extent, food and commodity prices also matter. San Diego Union-Tribune, 6 Jan. 2023 Women from the east Baltic region and, to a lesser extent, the British and Irish isles contributed more to the gene pool of Scandinavia than the men from those regions during that time. Julia Musto, Fox News, 6 Jan. 2023 Russian forces use commercial drones, too, but to a lesser extent. Luke Mogelson, The New Yorker, 26 Dec. 2022 Getting infected with the virus itself also triggers the process, but to a lesser extent. Alice Park, Time, 13 Dec. 2022
Some of his subjects are household names, but many others are lesser known to many readers in the U.S., among them Jacques I of Haiti, the Mughal Emperor Babur and Chinese Empress Wu. Meilan Solly, Smithsonian Magazine, 20 Nov. 2023 Hot Springs, Arkansas This lesser known spot in the Ouachita Mountains is, as its name suggests, rich with hot springs. Maya Silver, Condé Nast Traveler, 30 Oct. 2023 Secondly lets look at something most coffee drinkers have some experience of, at least to some degree, but is lesser known generally, and that's caffeines effect on appetite. Amber Smith, Discover Magazine, 5 Oct. 2023 Integration is the lesser appreciated cousin of forgiveness; more sophisticated than acceptance, less saccharine than gratitude. Jessica Knoll, Vogue, 22 Sep. 2023 In a world where capturing the perfect photo to post is a requirement during any vacation, stand out from the crowd by swapping an iconic landmark for one lesser known. Kellie Benz, Redbook, 17 Aug. 2023 Pink is one of the lesser worn colors among fans at the shows, but still a very popping look. Dina Kaur, The Arizona Republic, 10 Aug. 2023 This tragic American injustice along the Trail of Tears may be well known, but what is lesser known is that a band of Cherokee evaded removal and endured in the mountains and valleys of the Smokies. Tracey Minkin, Southern Living, 12 July 2023 While the cancan never gets old, something just as French and risqué that’s lesser known is Madame Arthur, a drag cabaret and club in Pigalle where Serge Gainsbourg first played. Lane Nieset, Travel + Leisure, 7 July 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'lesser.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use


13th century, in the meaning defined above


15th century, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of lesser was in the 13th century

Dictionary Entries Near lesser

Cite this Entry

“Lesser.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/lesser. Accessed 28 Nov. 2023.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 adjective
less·​er ˈles-ər How to pronounce lesser (audio)
: of smaller size or importance


2 of 2 adverb

Legal Definition


less·​er ˈle-sər How to pronounce lesser (audio)
: of less size, quality, degree, or significance
specifically : of lower criminal liability
duress has been held a good defense to such lesser crimes as robbery, burglary and malicious mischief W. R. LaFave and A. W. Scott, Jr.

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