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’
    • ‘I shall be watching most of the track athletics, some of the swimming, some of the sailing and even less of the gymnastics.’
    • ‘About this we need to ask, would we want to do less of it in order to save money to be spent elsewhere?’
    • ‘They also backed simple measures to remind people about their appointments, so less of doctors' time was wasted.’
    • ‘Never had he accepted anything less than what he wanted, not even then.’
    • ‘She will be no less protected on the floor below and she will be less of a hassle for you.’
    • ‘You are entitled to the full amount if your annual income is less than £18,900.’
    • ‘The main problem is that they tend to charge a lot more and that leaves less of your money going into investments.’
    • ‘Also, they frequently carry outrageously high charges, so less of your money goes to work on day one.’
    • ‘The applicant's income was less than that of the respondent but still significant.’
    • ‘They come out three months later than their UK counterparts, but that is markedly less of a gap than previously.’
    • ‘Urban and rural membership will be less of a fault-line than male and female.’
    • ‘They want more of acting and less of dancing on the slopes of Switzerland.’
    • ‘So, the lower the charges, the less of your money is gobbled up and the better chance you have of matching the market.’
    • ‘Being too cautious could mean that you invest less of your money in shares and keep more in cash.’
    • ‘Government is taking less of the national wealth than any time since 1974.’
    • ‘I woke up with less of a headache than I head yesterday, which is good.’
    • ‘If he devoted less of his time to goading opposition supporters then perhaps he would not be the most hated man in Scottish football.’
    • ‘Full-face masks also reduce the amount of heat loss, because less of the head is exposed.’
    • ‘I think there's a lot less of that sort of thing now than there used to be.’
    • ‘I appreciate trying to save money and being less of a consumer and all those other good things.’
    not so much, not so great, smaller, slighter, shorter, reduced
    fewer
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Fewer in number.
      [as pronoun] ‘a population of less than 200,000’
      • ‘Yes, but it would present less difficulties once it is acknowledged that the writ is almost as of right.’
      • ‘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.’
      a smaller amount
      a smaller amount
      not so much as, not as much as, under, below
      shy of
      View synonyms

adjective

archaic
  • Of lower rank or importance.

    ‘James the Less’

adverb

  • 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’
    • ‘It's less important that they suffer than we're made to look stupid.’
    • ‘As we focus on that, what happens to the institution becomes less important.’
    • ‘The story itself appears less important than the manner in which it has been told.’
    • ‘Punitive and other reactions were considerably less common.’
    • ‘Alcohol use disorders are considerably less common in this age range than they are among younger individuals.’
    • ‘That is part of the answer, but a less important part than the nature of the new legislation.’
    • ‘Sometimes the vanity is so strong that the health or even the life of the kids becomes less important.’
    • ‘It is said that this kind of convention is getting less important in modern China.’
    • ‘I think labels are less important than practical solutions to fund museums.’
    • ‘At first, the design of the network will seem less important than the content that is moved over it.’
    • ‘I look up and see he is wearing rather academic spectacles, which makes him look slightly less threatening.’
    • ‘Suddenly the whole prospect seems considerably less appealing.’
    • ‘The same trend applies, albeit to a less impressive extent, in the abbreviated format.’
    • ‘Small HDL particles are much less effective at soaking up their bad brethren.’
    • ‘Well, now that we have broadband, the ability to load pages without images has become a lot less important.’
    • ‘One apparently almost universal discriminatory practice was to pay women less than men.’
    • ‘What I am trying to say is that the end result makes the platform choice less important.’
    • ‘Lower leaves often turn yellow as the plant begins to head and become less important.’
    • ‘To some extent the presence or absence of fine writing is even less important to me here than it is with people journals.’
    • ‘In reality, the factors that caused the war are far less important than its consequences.’
    to a lesser degree, to a smaller extent, not so much, not as much
    rarely, barely, little, not much
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1less than Far from; certainly not.
      ‘Mitch looked less than happy’
      ‘the data was less than ideal’
      • ‘There was some constant fuzz on the track, so the clarity was less than perfect.’
      • ‘David seemed less than delighted with the new situation.’
      • ‘The examination she was put through was less than thorough’
      • ‘Due to poor promotion a less than adequate turnout was achieved.’
      • ‘Graham was less than pleased.’

preposition

  • Before subtracting (something); minus.

    ‘$900,000 less tax’
    minus, subtracting, excepting, without, lacking
    View synonyms

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.

      • ‘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.’
      • ‘As a result of this, you can have healthy cuticles in less than no time!’
  • less and less

    • At a continually decreasing rate.

      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I like to see people talking on the streets but you see it less and less.’
      • ‘America is sliding toward a firmer belief in the inequality of men and believes less and less in the unity of the human species.’
      • ‘I just wonder why he has been replying less and less to my attempts to contact him.’
      • ‘We live in an age of exploding information, but we act less and less on what we hear.’
      • ‘This is happening less and less, though the laid-back Holmes claims he never got uptight about it.’
      • ‘Those interesting searches seem to be coming less and less now than they did before.’
  • less is more

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

      • ‘Well I think in many cases less is more.’
      • ‘You could sum the site up by saying less is more.’
      • ‘Indeed, the majority of the evidence still suggests that in the care of patients with low back pain, less is more.’
      • ‘My idea of sexy is that less is more.’
      • ‘One of the lessons for the market is " less is more ".’
      • ‘Concerned with characters more than special effects, Fawcett has succeeded in creating a film where less is more.’
      • ‘Remember you can still look sexy without revealing all your goods; less is more!’
      • ‘This is arguably a case where less is more.’
      • ‘Less is more for some of your favorite stars.’
      • ‘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?’
      • ‘Men are possibly more likely to be unwilling to report it, and are much less likely to be believed if they do.’
      • ‘In poor countries with under-resourced police departments, enforcement is still less likely.’
      • ‘The Green Paper does not even mention this issue, still less propose change.’
      • ‘Lynch does not mention a battle, still less a location for one.’
      • ‘I do not say that the Mirror could have known that a specific ‘reprisal’ would take place, still less that they wanted it to.’
      • ‘This is understandable enough - but the idea that the former should find it surprising, still less offensive, is anything but.’
      • ‘It is not about punishing councils, still less about forcing them to fund people who wait for services that are not their responsibility.’
      • ‘She does not acknowledge the tremendous task she has already embarked upon, still less what she has achieved.’
      • ‘This is likely to be still less problematic for nonmammalian vertebrates.’
      • ‘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’
      • ‘Among the many highlights of the Craft Fair will be the arrival of Santa by boat no less.’
      • ‘It felt like aeons before she said we were on, and then furnished us with VIP passes no less!’
      • ‘I justify my call with reference to the philosophy of a former Warden of Wadham, no less.’
      • ‘Having scooped a major award, covered by the Times no less, neither paper has said a thing about this!’
      • ‘Impending parenthood is a fertile time for dreams, no less for fathers than for mothers.’
      • ‘So it wants a legal framework to bring about the industrialisation of drug production, 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.’
      1. 1.1Used to emphasize a surprisingly large amount.
        • ‘Another city drawing inspiration from the past is Coventry, with no less than 26 twins.’
        • ‘That song was picked up by Chris Evans and played no less than three times on his radio show in one sitting.’
        • ‘A global race is under way as no less than four separate research teams compete to make archaeological history.’
        • ‘Within two days of the departure of Davies, Nevin had written no less than 33 names into his notepad.’
        • ‘During his long association with the club, Parkes performed the role on no less than six separate occasions.’
        • ‘If you include the doll made in his likeness, there are no less than six incarnations of Pekar in the film.’
        • ‘After all, in their case, the plate on their car could amount to no less than one third of the price of the car.’
        • ‘On Easter Sunday there are no less than three helpings of jazz in York.’
        • ‘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.’
        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/