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less

Line breaks: less
Pronunciation: /lɛs
 
/

Definition of less in English:

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 they returned 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.
Synonyms
not so much, not so great, smaller, slighter, shorter, reduced;
1.1Fewer in number: [as pronoun]: a population of less than 200,000 See usage below.
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.
Synonyms
a smaller amount;
not so much as, not as much as, under, below
informal shy of

adjective

archaic Back to top  
Of lower rank or importance: James the Less

adverb

Back to top  
1To a smaller extent; not so much: cut out less important material 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.
Synonyms
to a lesser degree, to a smaller extent, not so much, not as much;
rarely, barely, little, not much
1.1 (less than) Far from; certainly not: Mitch looked less than happy
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.

preposition

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Before subtracting (something); minus: £900,000 less tax

Origin

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

Usage

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

Phrases

less and less

1
At a continually decreasing rate: she ate less and less they became less and less willing to spend money
More 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

2
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

3
Used to introduce something as being even less likely than something 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

4
Used to suggest, often ironically, that something is surprising or impressive: Peter cooked dinnerfillet 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)4.1 Used to emphasize a surprisingly large amount: no less than eight people died
More 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.

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