Definition of lesser in English:

lesser

Line breaks: less¦er
Pronunciation: /ˈlɛsə
 
/

adjective

[attributive]
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
Synonyms
less important, minor, secondary, subsidiary, marginal, ancillary, auxiliary, supplementary, supplemental, peripheral; inferior, slighter, insignificant, unimportant, petty; lower, lower-level, lower-grade, second-rate
1.1Lower in rank or quality: 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.
Synonyms
subordinate, minor, inferior, second-class, subservient, lowly, humble, servile, menial, mean; junior
1.2Used in names of animals and plants which are smaller than similar kinds, e.g. lesser spotted woodpecker, lesser celandine.

Origin

Middle English: a double comparative, from less + -er2.

Phrases

the lesser evil (or the lesser of two evils)

The less unpleasant of two undesirable possibilities: authoritarianism may seem a lesser evil than abject poverty
More 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.

Definition of lesser in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day internecine
Pronunciation: ˌintərˈnesēn
adjective
destructive to both sides in a conflict