Definition of less in English:

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Pronunciation: /les/

determiner& pronoun

1A smaller amount of; not as much: [as determiner]: the less time spent there, the better [as pronoun]: storage is less of a problem than it used to be ready in less than an hour
More example sentences
  • I appreciate trying to save money and being less of a consumer and all those other good things.
  • So, the lower the charges, the less of your money is gobbled up and the better chance you have of matching the market.
  • Also, they frequently carry outrageously high charges, so less of your money goes to work on day one.
not so much, smaller, slighter, shorter, reduced;
1.1Fewer in number: [as pronoun]: a population of less than 200,000
More example sentences
  • In most cases fast greens present less problems when drawing around a blocking bowl.
  • It can be shown for example that there were less that 5000 men present but this is not of any importance.
  • Yes, but it would present less difficulties once it is acknowledged that the writ is almost as of right.
a smaller amount than, not so/as much as, under, below


Of lower rank or importance: James the Less


1To a smaller extent; not so much: he listened less to the answer than to Kate’s voice that this is a positive stereotype makes it no less a stereotype
More example sentences
  • That is part of the answer, but a less important part than the nature of the new legislation.
  • To some extent the presence or absence of fine writing is even less important to me here than it is with people journals.
  • The same trend applies, albeit to a less impressive extent, in the abbreviated format.
to a lesser degree, to a smaller extent, not so/as much
1.1 (less than) Far from; certainly not: Mitch looked less than happy the data was less than ideal
More example sentences
  • The examination she was put through was less than thorough
  • There was some constant fuzz on the track, so the clarity was less than perfect.
  • Graham was less than pleased.


Before subtracting (something); minus: $900,000 less tax
minus, subtracting, excepting, without


In standard English, less should be used only with uncountable things ( less money; less time). With countable things, it is incorrect to use less: thus, less people and less words should be corrected to fewer people and fewer words. See also few (usage).



in less than no time

informal Very quickly or soon.
Example sentences
  • There was no time to parley, so I climbed a tree in less than no time, and had presence of mind to take my gun with me.
  • The light filtering between the boards wakens me up, and in less than no time I go and test the light switch.
  • Follow the road east or west to reach historic towns, eclectic fishing villages and flume crazy waterparks in less than no time.

less and less

At a continually decreasing rate.
Example sentences
  • America is sliding toward a firmer belief in the inequality of men and believes less and less in the unity of the human species.
  • The chance of people learning by experience gets less and less as the jobs become few and far between.
  • This is happening less and less, though the laid-back Holmes claims he never got uptight about it.

less is more

Used to express the view that a minimalist approach to artistic or aesthetic matters is more effective.
Example sentences
  • Well I think in many cases less is more.
  • You could sum the site up by saying less is more.
  • Remember you can still look sexy without revealing all your goods; less is more!

much (or still) less

Used to introduce something as being even less likely or suitable than something else already mentioned: what woman would consider a date with him, much less a marriage?
More example sentences
  • In poor countries with under-resourced police departments, enforcement is still less likely.
  • Lynch does not mention a battle, still less a location for one.
  • She does not acknowledge the tremendous task she has already embarked upon, still less what she has achieved.

no less

Used to suggest, often ironically, that something is surprising or impressive: Peter cooked dinner—fillet steak and champagne, no less
More example sentences
  • Day three took us to a site no less impressive, aptly named Mysterious Lagoon.
  • Having scooped a major award, covered by the Times no less, neither paper has said a thing about this!
  • So it wants a legal framework to bring about the industrialisation of drug production, no less.
(no less than)5.1 Used to emphasize a surprisingly large amount.
Example sentences
  • After all, in their case, the plate on their car could amount to no less than one third of the price of the car.
  • That test has been applied in this Court on no less than eight subsequent occasions.
  • If you include the doll made in his likeness, there are no less than six incarnations of Pekar in the film.


Old English lǣssa, of Germanic origin; related to Old Frisian lēssa, from an Indo-European root shared by Greek loisthos 'last'.

Words that rhyme with less

acquiesce, address, assess, Bess, bless, bouillabaisse, caress, cess, chess, coalesce, compress, confess, convalesce, cress, deliquesce, digress, dress, duchesse, duress, effervesce, effloresce, evanesce, excess, express, fess, finesse, fluoresce, guess, Hesse, impress, incandesce, intumesce, jess, largesse, manageress, mess, ness, noblesse, obsess, oppress, outguess, phosphoresce, politesse, possess, press, priestess, princess, process, profess, progress, prophetess, regress, retrogress, stress, success, suppress, tendresse, top-dress, transgress, tress, tristesse, underdress, vicomtesse, yes

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: less

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