1[attributive] Not 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’less important, minor, secondary, subsidiary, marginal, ancillary, auxiliary, supplementary, supplemental, peripheralView synonyms
- 1.1Lower in terms of rank or quality.‘the lesser aristocracy’‘you're looking down your nose at us lesser mortals’
- ‘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.’
- ‘Perhaps lesser mortals in this field should wait for the hearings?’
- 1.2Used in names of animals and plants that are smaller than similar kinds, e.g., lesser spotted woodpecker, lesser celandine.
- 1.1Lower in terms of rank or quality.
On the punctuation of lesser in compound adjectives, see well
Middle English: a double comparative, from less + -er.