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less Meaning, Definition & Usage

  1. noun a chronic inflammatory collagen disease affecting connective tissue (skin or joints)
    LE; lupus erythematosus.
  2. adjective (comparative of `little' usually used with mass nouns) a quantifier meaning not as great in amount or degree
    • of less importance
    • less time to spend with the family
    • a shower uses less water
    • less than three years old
  3. adjective satellite (usually preceded by `no') lower in quality
    • no less than perfect
  4. adjective satellite (nonstandard in some uses but often idiomatic with measure phrases) fewer
    • less than three weeks
    • no less than 50 people attended
    • in 25 words or less
  5. adverb used to form the comparative of some adjectives and adverbs
    to a lesser extent.
    • less interesting
    • less expensive
    • less quickly
  6. adverb comparative of little
    • she walks less than she should
    • he works less these days

Less conjunction
  1. Unless. Obs. B. Jonson.
Less adjective
OE. lesse, AS. l&aemac;ssa; akin to OFries. lessa; a compar. from a lost positive form. Cf. Lesser, Lest, Least. Less has the sense of the comparative degree of little.
  1. Smaller; not so large or great; not so much; shorter; inferior; as, a less quantity or number; a horse of less size or value; in less time than before. ✍ The substantive which less qualifies is often omitted; as, the purse contained less (money) than ten dollars. See Less, n.
    Thus in less [time] than a hundred years from the coming of Augustine, all England became Christian. E. A. Freeman.
Less adverb
AS. ls. See Less, adj., and cf. Lest.
  1. Not so much; in a smaller or lower degree; as, less bright or loud; less beautiful.
Less noun
  1. A smaller portion or quantity.
    The children of Israel did so, and gathered, some more, some less. Ex. xvi. 17.
  2. The inferior, younger, or smaller.
    The less is blessed of the better. Heb. vii. 7.
Less transitive verb
  1. To make less; to lessen. Obs. Gower.

Webster 1913