Definition of less in English:

less

pronoun & determiner

  • 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’
    not so much, not so great, smaller, slighter, shorter, reduced
    fewer
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Fewer in number.
      [as pronoun] ‘a population of less than 200,000’

Usage

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

Phrases

  • in less than no time

    • informal Very quickly or soon.

      • ‘The light filtering between the boards wakens me up, and in less than no time I go and test the light switch.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘As a result of this, you can have healthy cuticles in less than no time!’
      • ‘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.

      • ‘America is sliding toward a firmer belief in the inequality of men and believes less and less in the unity of the human species.’
      • ‘Those interesting searches seem to be coming less and less now than they did before.’
      • ‘This is happening less and less, though the laid-back Holmes claims he never got uptight about it.’
      • ‘I like to see people talking on the streets but you see it less and less.’
      • ‘We live in an age of exploding information, but we act less and less on what we hear.’
      • ‘I just wonder why he has been replying less and less to my attempts to contact him.’
      • ‘Gradually, the regular rugby writers have come to realise that, and they talk to me less and less.’
      • ‘The couple had been seen less and less because of their health problems.’
      • ‘The chance of people learning by experience gets less and less as the jobs become few and far between.’
      • ‘Virtually everything this man does these days makes me respect him less and less.’
  • less is more

    • Used to express the view that a minimalist approach to artistic or aesthetic matters is more effective.

      • ‘This is arguably a case where less is more.’
      • ‘My idea of sexy is that less is more.’
      • ‘One of the lessons for the market is " less is more ".’
      • ‘You could sum the site up by saying less is more.’
      • ‘Less is more for some of your favorite stars.’
      • ‘Remember you can still look sexy without revealing all your goods; less is more!’
      • ‘Concerned with characters more than special effects, Fawcett has succeeded in creating a film where less is more.’
      • ‘Indeed, the majority of the evidence still suggests that in the care of patients with low back pain, less is more.’
      • ‘Well I think in many cases less is more.’
      • ‘The structure is exposed to demonstrate that 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?’
      • ‘She does not acknowledge the tremendous task she has already embarked upon, still less what she has achieved.’
      • ‘The Green Paper does not even mention this issue, still less propose change.’
      • ‘This is likely to be still less problematic for nonmammalian vertebrates.’
      • ‘Lynch does not mention a battle, still less a location for one.’
      • ‘It is not about punishing councils, still less about forcing them to fund people who wait for services that are not their responsibility.’
      • ‘In poor countries with under-resourced police departments, enforcement is still less likely.’
      • ‘This is understandable enough - but the idea that the former should find it surprising, still less offensive, is anything but.’
      • ‘I do not say that the Mirror could have known that a specific ‘reprisal’ would take place, still less that they wanted it to.’
      • ‘Men are possibly more likely to be unwilling to report it, and are much less likely to be believed if they do.’
      • ‘By 1867, this had become highly improbable, and still less likely by 1870.’
  • no less

    • 1Used to suggest, often ironically, that something is surprising or impressive.

      ‘Peter cooked dinner—fillet steak and champagne, no less’
      • ‘Our route took us to the village of West Lilling and involved a climb to 100 feet no less.’
      • ‘Day three took us to a site no less impressive, aptly named Mysterious Lagoon.’
      • ‘It felt like aeons before she said we were on, and then furnished us with VIP passes no less!’
      • ‘So it wants a legal framework to bring about the industrialisation of drug production, no less.’
      • ‘Having scooped a major award, covered by the Times no less, neither paper has said a thing about this!’
      • ‘Among the many highlights of the Craft Fair will be the arrival of Santa by boat no less.’
      • ‘I justify my call with reference to the philosophy of a former Warden of Wadham, no less.’
      • ‘Impending parenthood is a fertile time for dreams, no less for fathers than for mothers.’
      1. 1.1Used to emphasize a surprisingly large amount.
        • ‘If you include the doll made in his likeness, there are no less than six incarnations of Pekar in the film.’
        • ‘That test has been applied in this Court on no less than eight subsequent occasions.’
        • ‘A decade later there were no less than four churches, as well as a public school and post office.’
        • ‘On Easter Sunday there are no less than three helpings of jazz in York.’
        • ‘A global race is under way as no less than four separate research teams compete to make archaeological history.’
        • ‘After all, in their case, the plate on their car could amount to no less than one third of the price of the car.’
        • ‘Within two days of the departure of Davies, Nevin had written no less than 33 names into his notepad.’
        • ‘That song was picked up by Chris Evans and played no less than three times on his radio show in one sitting.’
        • ‘Another city drawing inspiration from the past is Coventry, with no less than 26 twins.’
        • ‘During his long association with the club, Parkes performed the role on no less than six separate occasions.’
        at the minimum, no less than, not less than
        View synonyms

Origin

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

Pronunciation:

less

/les/