1Not so great or important as the other or the rest: he was convicted of a lesser assault charge they nest mostly in Alaska and to a lesser extent in Siberia
1.1Lower in terms of rank or quality: the lesser aristocracy you’re looking down your nose at us lesser mortals
More example sentences
- Perhaps lesser mortals in this field should wait for the hearings?
- He showed no signs of jet lag, again something lesser mortals complain of.
- Instead, it's how they deal with the stuff that would sink a far lesser talent.
On the punctuation of lesser in compound adjectives, see well1 (usage).
a/the lesser evil (or the lesser of two evils)
- The less harmful or unpleasant of two bad choices or possibilities: authoritarianism may seem a lesser evil than abject povertyMore example sentences
- I am not in favour of war but believe that it may be the lesser of two evils.
- This greatly reduces our available choices, and, in the end, we are not necessarily choosing the best candidate, we are choosing the lesser of two evils.
- The corruption and bloodshed have become so unbearable in a few countries that some people long for the return of the old colonial powers, that now seem to be the lesser of two evils.