Share this entry

least
superlative of little
British English: /liːst/
American English: /list/
When the least is used as a quantifier followed by a noun to mean the smallest quantity of it is translated by le moins de: to have the least food = avoir le moins de nourriture.But when the least is used as a quantifier to mean the slightest it is translated by le or la moindre: I haven't the least idea = je n'en ai pas la moindre idée.For examples of these and particular usages see least 1 below.For translations of least as a pronoun or adverb see least 2 and least 3 below.The phrase at least is usually translated by au moins.For examples and exceptions see least 4 below.For the phrase in the least see least 5 below.

Translation of least in French:

quantifier

  • (the) least
    (le) moins de
    (in negative constructions) (le or la) moindre
    they have the least food
    ce sont eux qui ont le moins de nourriture or le moins à manger
    they have the least chance of winning
    ce sont eux qui ont le moins de chance de gagner
    they haven't the least chance of winning
    ils n'ont pas la moindre chance de gagner
    I haven't the least idea he didn't have the least difficulty in believing her
    il n'a pas eu la moindre difficulté à la croire
    the least thing annoys him
    la moindre chose l'agace
    he wasn't the least bit jealous/worried
    il n'était pas jaloux/inquiet le moins du monde or du tout
    ‘were you frightened?’—‘not the least bit!’
    ‘est-ce que tu avais peur?’—‘pas le moins du monde!’

pronoun

  • nobody has very much but we have the least
    personne n'en a beaucoup mais c'est nous qui en avons le moins
    buy the one that costs the least
    achète le moins cher ( or la moins chère)
    it was the least I could do
    c'est la moindre des choses!
    the least he could have done was phone the police
    il aurait au moins pu appeler la police
    that's the least of our problems!
    c'est le cadet de nos soucis!
    that's the least of it
    ce n'est pas tout
    she was surprised, to say the least (of it)
    le moins qu'on puisse dire, c'est qu'elle était surprise

adverb

  • 1 (with adjective or noun) the least
    le/la moins
    (with plural noun) les moins
    she was the least satisfied of all
    c'était elle la moins satisfaite de tous
    the least wealthy/powerful families
    les familles les moins riches/puissantes
  • 2 (with verbs) I like that one (the) least
    c'est celui-là que j'aime le moins
    they are the ones who need it (the) least
    ce sont eux qui en ont le moins besoin
    just when we least expected it
    juste quand on s'y attendait le moins
    those least able to afford to pay
    ceux qui peuvent le moins se permettre de payer
    those least able to cope
    ceux qui ont le plus de mal à se débrouiller
    nobody was very enthusiastic about this idea, the president least of all ouleast of all the president
    personne n'a accueilli cette idée avec enthousiasme, le président encore moins que les autres
    not least because
    entre autres parce que, à commencer parce que

also: at least adverb phrase

  • (stating minimum quantity or advantage)
    au moins
    (qualifying statement) du moins
    there were at least 50 people in the room
    il y avait au moins 50 personnes dans la pièce
    it must have cost at least £1,000
    cela a dû coûter au moins 1 000 livres sterling
    she's at least 40
    elle a au moins 40 ans
    he's at least as qualified as she is
    il est au moins aussi qualifié qu'elle
    they could at least have phoned!
    ils auraient au moins pu téléphoner!
    you could at least have told me!
    tu aurais pu au moins me le dire!
    at least she didn't suffer
    au moins elle n'a pas souffert
    he's gone to bed—at least I think so
    il est allé se coucher—du moins, je pense
    he has never been there—at least, that's what he says
    il n'y a jamais été—du moins, c'est ce qu'il dit
    such people are at the very least guilty of negligence
    de telles personnes sont au moins coupables de négligence
    candidates should, at the very least, be proficient in two foreign languages
    les candidats devront maîtriser au moins deux langues étrangères

also: in the least adverb phrase

  • I'm not worried in the least, I'm not in the least (bit) worried
    je ne suis pas inquiet le moins du monde
    I'm not hungry in the least, I'm not in the least (bit) hungry
    je n'ai absolument pas faim
    it doesn't bother me in the least
    ça ne me dérange pas le moins du monde
    it doesn't matter in the least
    ça n'a pas la moindre importance
    not in the least!
    pas du tout!, pas le moins du monde!

Idioms

last but not least last but by no means least

Definition of least in:

Share this entry

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

QUIZ


    Next Score: