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to a smaller extent, amount, or degree: He was less than courteous. [Few and fewer should be used only before a plural: a few cookies remained; fewer people attended. Less should modify only singular nouns: less money, less courage. When a plural noun suggests a combination into a unit, less is used: less than fifteen cents (a sum of money); less than fifteen miles (a unit of distance); less sugar (a mass noun).]
Not to be confused with:
fewer – of a smaller number: He said the same thing, but in fewer words.
Abused, Confused, & Misused Words by Mary Embree Copyright © 2007, 2013 by Mary Embree


adj.A comparative of little
1. Not as great in amount or quantity: had less time to spend with the family.
2. Lower in importance, esteem, or rank: no less a person than the ambassador.
3. Consisting of a smaller number.
With the deduction of; minus: Five less two is three.
adv.Comparative of little
To a smaller extent, degree, or frequency: less happy; less expensive.
1. A smaller amount: She received less than she asked for.
2. Something not as important as something else: People have been punished for less.
less than
Not at all: He had a less than favorable view of the matter.
much/still less
Certainly not: I'm not blaming anyone, much less you.

[Middle English lesse, from Old English lǣssa (adj.) and lǣs (adv.); see leis- in Indo-European roots.]
Usage Note: The traditional rule holds that fewer should be used for things that can be counted (fewer than four players), while less should be used with mass nouns for things of measurable extent (less paper; less than a gallon of paint). The Usage Panel largely supports the traditional rule. In our 2006 survey, only five percent accepted the sentence There are less crowds at the mall these days, while 28 percent accepted the following sentence, in which less is contrasted with more: The region needs more jobs, not less jobs. The Panel was a little more accepting (but still not in favor) of the familiar supermarket usage The express lane is reserved for shoppers with 10 or less items. The traditional rule is often hard to follow in practice, however, in part because plural nouns and mass nouns are similar in being divisible and in lacking distinct boundaries. For this reason, plurals and mass nouns are used in many of the same ways. Both can be used without determiners (I like apples, I like applesauce), and they both can take certain quantifiers like some and more (more apples, more applesauce). Less falls in the same class as some and more and is used in some well-established constructions where fewer would occur if the traditional rule were applied. Less than can be used before a plural noun that denotes a measure of time, amount, or distance: less than three weeks; less than $400; less than 50 miles. Less is sometimes used with plural nouns in the expressions no less than (as in No less than 30 of his colleagues signed the letter) and or less (as in Give your reasons in 25 words or less). And the approximator more or less is normally used after plural nouns as well as mass nouns: I have two dozen apples, more or less. To use fewer in such constructions sounds fastidious, so writers who follow the traditional rule should do so with caution.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


a. the comparative of little1: less sugar; less spirit than before.
b. (as pronoun; functioning as sing or plural): she has less than she needs; the less you eat, the less you want.
2. (usually preceded by no) lower in rank or importance: no less a man than the president; St James the Less.
3. no less informal used to indicate surprise or admiration, often sarcastic, at the preceding statement: she says she's been to Italy, no less.
4. less of to a smaller extent or degree: we see less of John these days; less of a success than I'd hoped.
5. the comparative of little (sense 1): she walks less than she should; less quickly; less beautiful.
6. much less still less used to reinforce a negative: we don't like it, still less enjoy it.
7. think less of to have a lower opinion of
subtracting; minus: three weeks less a day.
[Old English lǣssa (adj), lǣs (adv, n)]
Usage: Less should not be confused with fewer. Less refers strictly only to quantity and not to number: there is less water than before. Fewer means smaller in number: there are fewer people than before
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014



adv. a compar. of little with least as superl.
1. to a smaller extent, amount, or degree: less exact.
2. most certainly not (often prec. by much or still): I could barely pay for my own meal, much less for hers.
3. in any way different; other: He's nothing less than a thief.
4. smaller in size, amount, degree, etc.; not so large, great, or much: less money; less speed.
5. lower in consideration, rank, or importance: no less a person than the mayor.
6. fewer: less than ten.
n. a compar. of little with least as superl.
7. a smaller amount or quantity: She eats less every day.
8. something inferior or not as important: People have been imprisoned for less.
9. minus; without: a year less two days.
less and less, to a decreasing extent or degree.
[before 900; Middle English; Old English lǣs (adv.), lǣssa (adj.), c. Old Frisian lēs (adv.), lēssa (adj.). See least]
usage: Many usage guides say that fewer should be used before plural nouns specifying individuals or distinguishable units: fewer words; no fewer than 31 of the 50 states. less, the guides maintain, should modify only singular mass nouns (less sugar; less money) and singular abstract nouns (less doubt; less power). It should modify plural nouns only when they suggest combination into a unit, group, or aggregation: less than $50 (a sum of money); less than three miles (a unit of distance). Standard English practice does not consistently reflect these distinctions. The use of less or less than where usage guides recommend fewer (than) is common in most varieties of English: less than eight million people; no less than 31 of the 50 states; We did more work with less people. Though these uses are often criticized, they appear to be increasing in frequency.


an adjective-forming suffix meaning “without,” “not having” that specified by the noun base (careless; shameless); added to verbs, it is equivalent to “un-” plus the present participle of the verb, or “un-” plus the verb plus “-able” (quenchless; tireless).
[Middle English -les, Old English -lēas, suffixal use of lēas free from, without, false, c. Old Saxon, Old High German lōs, Old Norse lauss; compare loose]
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.


1. used in front of nouns

You use less in front of an uncountable noun to say that one quantity is not as big as another, or that a quantity is not as big as it was before.

A shower uses less water than a bath.
His work gets less attention than it deserves.

Less is sometimes used in front of plural nouns.

This proposal will mean less jobs.
Less people are going to university than usual.

Some people think this use is wrong. They say that you should use fewer in front of plural nouns, not 'less'.

There are fewer trees here.
The new technology allows products to be made with fewer components than before.

However, fewer sounds formal when used in conversation. As an alternative to 'less' or 'fewer', you can use not as many or not so many in front of plural nouns. These expressions are acceptable in both conversation and writing.

There are not as many cottages as there were.
There aren't so many trees there.

After not as many and not so many you use as, not 'than'.

2. 'less than' and 'fewer than'

You use less than in front of a noun phrase to say that an amount or measurement is below a particular point or level.

It's hard to find a house in Beverly Hills for less than a million dollars.
I travelled less than 3000 miles.

Less than is sometimes used in front of a noun phrase referring to a number of people or things.

The whole of Switzerland has less than six million inhabitants.
The country's army consisted of less than a hundred soldiers.

Some people think this use is wrong. They say that you should use fewer than, not 'less than', in front of a noun phrase referring to people or things.

He had never been in a class with fewer than forty children.
In 1900 there were fewer than one thousand university teachers.

You can use less than in conversation, but you should use fewer than in formal writing.

However, fewer than can only be used when the following noun phrase refers to a number of people or things. Don't use 'fewer than' when the noun phrase refers to an amount or measurement. Don't say, for example, 'I travelled fewer than 3000 miles.

3. 'less' used in front of adjectives

Less can be used in front of an adjective to say that someone or something has a smaller amount of a quality than they had before, or a smaller amount than someone or something else has.

After I spoke to her, I felt less worried.
Most of the other plays were less successful.

Be Careful!
Don't use 'less' in front of the comparative form of an adjective. Don't say, for example, 'It is less colder than it was yesterday'. Say 'It is less cold than it was yesterday'.

4. 'not as ... as'

In conversation and informal writing, people don't usually use 'less' in front of adjectives. They don't say, for example, 'It is less cold than it was yesterday'. They say 'It is not as cold as it was yesterday'.

The region is not as pretty as the Dordogne.

Not so is also sometimes used, but this is less common.

The officers here are not so young as the lieutenants.

After not as and not so, you use as, not 'than'.

Collins COBUILD English Usage © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 2004, 2011, 2012
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Adj.1.less - (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"
comparative, comparative degree - the comparative form of an adjective or adverb; "`faster' is the comparative of the adjective `fast'"; "`less famous' is the comparative degree of the adjective `famous'"; "`more surely' is the comparative of the adverb `surely'"
slight, little - (quantifier used with mass nouns) small in quantity or degree; not much or almost none or (with `a') at least some; "little rain fell in May"; "gave it little thought"; "little time is left"; "we still have little money"; "a little hope remained"; "there's slight chance that it will work"; "there's a slight chance it will work"
more, more than - (comparative of `much' used with mass nouns) a quantifier meaning greater in size or amount or extent or degree; "more land"; "more support"; "more rain fell"; "more than a gallon"
2.less - (usually preceded by `no') lower in quality; "no less than perfect"
inferior - of low or inferior quality
3.less - (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"
fewer - (comparative of `few' used with count nouns) quantifier meaning a smaller number of; "fewer birds came this year"; "the birds are fewer this year"; "fewer trains were late"
Adv.1.less - used to form the comparative of some adjectives and adverbs; "less interesting"; "less expensive"; "less quickly"
more, to a greater extent - used to form the comparative of some adjectives and adverbs; "more interesting"; "more beautiful"; "more quickly"
2.less - comparative of little; "she walks less than she should"; "he works less these days"
more - comparative of much; to a greater degree or extent; "he works more now"; "they eat more than they should"
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


1. smaller, shorter, slighter, not so much Eat less fat to reduce the risk of heart disease.
1. to a smaller extent, little, barely, not much, not so much, meagrely We are eating more and exercising less.
1. a smaller amount, not as much (as) Motorways cover less than 0.1 per cent of the countryside.
1. minus, without, lacking, excepting, subtracting Company car drivers will pay ten percent, less tax.
"Less is more" [Ludwig Mies van der Rohe]
Usage: Less should not be confused with fewer. Less refers strictly only to quantity and not to number: there is less water than before. Fewer means smaller in number: there are fewer people than before.
Collins Thesaurus of the English Language – Complete and Unabridged 2nd Edition. 2002 © HarperCollins Publishers 1995, 2002
minnaminni enmínus
더 적은보다 적은 양
atėmuskuo mažiau... tuo mažiau/labiaumažesnismažesnis kiekismažiau
ít hơnở mức ít hơn


A. ADJ COMPAR of little 2menos
now we eat less breadahora comemos menos pan
she has less time to spare nowahora tiene menos tiempo libre
of less importancede menos importancia
St James the LessSantiago el Menor
no less a person than the bishopno otro que el obispo, el mismísimo obispo
that was told me by the minister no lesseso me lo dijo el mismo ministro
B. PRONmenos
it's less than you thinkes menos de lo que piensas
can't you let me have it for less?¿no me lo puedes dar en menos?
less than £1/a kilo/three metresmenos de una libra/un kilo/tres metros
at a price of less than £1a un precio inferior or menor a una libra
less than a week agohace menos de una semana
a tip of £10, no less!¡una propina de 10 libras, nada menos!
nothing less thannada menos que
it's nothing less than a disasteres un verdadero or auténtico desastre
the less ... the lesscuanto menos ... menos ...
the less he works the less he earnscuanto menos trabaja menos gana
the less said about it the bettercuanto menos se hable de eso mejor
C. ADVmenos
to go out less (often)salir menos
you work less than I dotrabajas menos que yo
grief grows less with timela pena disminuye a medida que pasa el tiempo
in less than an houren menos de una hora
it's less expensive than the other onecuesta menos que el otro
less and lesscada vez menos
that doesn't make her any less guiltyno por eso es menos culpable
even less, still lesstodavía menos, menos aún
the problem is less one of capital than of personnelel problema más que de capitales es de personal
D. PREPmenos
the price less 10%el precio menos 10 por ciento
the price less VATel precio excluyendo el IVA
a year less four daysun año menos cuatro días
Collins Spanish Dictionary - Complete and Unabridged 8th Edition 2005 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1971, 1988 © HarperCollins Publishers 1992, 1993, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2003, 2005


adjmoins de
I've got less time for hobbies now → J'ai moins de temps pour les loisirs maintenant.
A shower uses less water than a bath → Une douche consomme moins d'eau qu'un bain.
A bit less, please → Un peu moins, s'il vous plaît.
He spent less than me → Il a dépensé moins que moi.
It cost less than we thought → Ça a coûté moins que nous ne le pensions.
I've got less than you → J'en ai moins que toi.
less of the money → une part moins importante de l'argent
Last year less of the money went into high-technology companies → L'année dernière, une part moins importante de l'argent est allé dans les sociétés de hautes technologies.
I see less of them now they've moved → Je les vois moins maintenant qu'ils ont déménagé.
no less than → pas moins de
She owns no less than four houses → Elle possède pas moins de quatre maisons.
no less (used for emphasis)pas moins
the Prime Minister, no less! → le Premier ministre, pas moins!
adv (gen)moins (= less often) → moins souvent
He's less intelligent than her → Il est moins intelligent qu'elle.
He goes out less than he used to → Il sort moins qu'avant.
I visit him less than I should → Je lui rends visite moins souvent que je ne le devrais.
less than half → moins de la moitié
less than one → moins de un
less than a kilo → moins d'un kilo
less than 3 metres → moins de 3 mètres
less than that → moins que cela
less than you → moins que vous
It's less than a kilometre from here → C'est à moins d'un kilomètre d'ici.
It costs less than 100 euros → Ça coûte moins de cent euros.
far less often → bien moins souvent
He still eats meat, but far less often → Il mange toujours de la viande mais bien moins souvent.
less and less → de moins en moins
We go out less and less → Nous sortons de moins en moins.
the less he works ... → moins il travaille ...
The less he works, the more he complains → Moins il travaille et plus il se plaint.
less than ever → moins que jamais
less than enthusiastic → pas des plus enthousiastes
Her greeting was less than enthusiastic → Son salut n'était pas des plus enthousiastes.
less than helpful
She was less than helpful → Elle n'était pas des plus serviables.
Her advice has frequently been less than helpful → Le plus souvent, ses conseils n'ont pas été des plus utiles.
prep (= minus) → moins
£500 less tax → 500 livres moins les impôts
less 10% discount → moins 10% de remise
Collins English/French Electronic Resource. © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


adj, adv, nweniger; of less importancevon geringerer Bedeutung, weniger bedeutend; less noise, please!nicht so laut, bitte!; no less a person than the bishopkein Geringerer als der Bischof; he did it in less timeer hat es in kürzerer Zeit or schneller getan; to grow lessweniger werden; (= grow at slow rate)langsamer wachsen; (= decrease)abnehmen; his problem is less one of money than of enthusiasmsein Problem ist weniger das Geld als vielmehr mangelnde Begeisterung; less and lessimmer weniger; she saw him less and less (often)sie sah ihn immer seltener; a sum less than £1eine Summe unter £ 1; it’s nothing less than disgraceful/than a disasteres ist wirklich eine Schande/ein Unglück nt; this is nothing less than blackmaildas ist ja direkt Erpressung; it was little less than blackmaildas war schon fast Erpressung, das war so gut wie Erpressung; he was less frightened than angryer war nicht so sehr ängstlich, sondern eher ärgerlich; less beautifulnicht so schön; less quicklynicht so schnell; he works less than I (do)er arbeitet weniger als ich; still or even lessnoch weniger; none the lesstrotzdem, nichtsdestoweniger; I didn’t find the film any the less interestingich fand den Film nicht weniger interessant; I don’t love her any the lessich liebe sie nicht weniger; their apology did not make him any the less angryihre Entschuldigung konnte seinen Ärger nicht besänftigen; can’t you let me have it for less?können Sie es mir nicht etwas billiger lassen?; I hope you won’t think (any the) less of meich hoffe, du denkst nicht schlecht von mir; less of that!komm mir nicht so!; x is less than/not less than 10 (Math) → x ist kleiner/kleiner (oder) gleich 10
prepweniger; (Comm) → abzüglich; a year less 4 daysein Jahr weniger 4 Tage; 6 less 4 is 26 weniger or minus 4 ist 2
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007


[lɛs] (little (comp of))
1. adjmeno
now we eat less bread → ora mangiamo meno pane
she has less time to spare → ha meno tempo a disposizione
of less importance → di minor importanza
2. pronmeno
we see less of them now → li vediamo di meno adesso
the less you read the less you learn → meno leggi meno impari
can't you let me have it for less? → mi potrebbe fare un piccolo sconto?
the less said about it the better → meno se ne parla e meglio è
less than half → meno della metà
less than £1/a kilo/3 metres → meno di una sterlina/un chilo/3 metri
less than you think → meno di quanto tu creda
less than you/ever → meno di te/che mai
the holiday was less than perfect → la vacanza non è stata proprio stupenda
it's nothing less than a disaster → è un disastro bell'e buono
a tip of £10, no less! (fam) → nientemeno che 10 sterline di mancia!
3. advmeno, di meno
to go out less (often) → uscire di meno
less and less → sempre meno
still less → ancora meno
none the less ... → ugualmente..., lo stesso...
4. prepmeno
less 5% → meno il 5%
Collins Italian Dictionary 1st Edition © HarperCollins Publishers 1995


(les) adjective
(often with than) not as much (as). Think of a number less than forty; He drank his tea and wished he had put less sugar in it; The salary for that job will be not less than $30,000.
not as much or to a smaller extent. I like her less every time I see her; You should smoke less if you want to remain healthy.
a smaller part or amount. He has less than I have.
minus. He earns $280 a week less $90 income tax.
ˈlessen verb
to make or become less. The fan lessened the heat a little; When the children left, the noise lessened considerably.
ˈlesser adjective
smaller or not as important. the lesser of the two towns.
less. the lesser-known streets of London.
the less … the less/more
etc . The less I see of him, the better (pleased I'll be)!; The less I practise, the less confident I become; The less I try, the more I succeed.
no less a person etc than
as great a person etc as: I had tea with no less a person than the Prime Minister
less is used in speaking about quantity or amount: People should eat less fat ; I've less than $100 in the bank .
fewer sould be used in speaking about numbers of individual things or people: I've fewer books than he has ; There were fewer than 50 people at the meeting .
Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary © 2006-2013 K Dictionaries Ltd.


أَقَلُ, أَقَلْ, أَقَلّ méně færre, mindre weniger λιγότερο, λιγότερος menos vähemmän moindre, moins manje, manji meno より少ない, より少量, 少なく 더 적은, 보다 적은 양 minder mindre, minus bez, mniej menos меньше, меньший mindre, yngre น้อยกว่า, น้อยลง daha az ít hơn, ở mức ít hơn 较少, 较少地, 较少的
Multilingual Translator © HarperCollins Publishers 2009


a. comp. menos, menor;
___ and ___cada vez menos;
___ complicated___ complicado;
___ difficult___ difícil;
more or ___más o menos;
adv. menos, en grado menor; sufijo menos, sin.
English-Spanish Medical Dictionary © Farlex 2012


(comp de little o few) adj menos; less pills..menos pastillas; — than menos de; less than there was before..menos de lo que había antes; adv menos; — than menos que; to eat less than usual..comer menos que de costumbre
English-Spanish/Spanish-English Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2006 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in classic literature ?
The money saved from one object may be usefully applied to another, and there will be so much the less to be drawn from the pockets of the people.
I attempted also to show that there is a constant tendency in the forms which are increasing in number and diverging in character, to supplant and exterminate the less divergent, the less improved, and preceding forms.
I could do with less caressing and more rationality.
Monarchies, in a word, are preserved by means contrary to what I have already mentioned as the cause of their destruction; but to speak to each separately: the stability of a kingdom will depend upon the power of the king's being kept within moderate bounds; for by how much the less extensive his power is, by so much the longer will his government continue; for he will be less despotic and more upon an equality of condition with those he governs; who, on that account, will envy him the less.
Month after month for the six years in which the "Editor's Study" continued in the keeping of its first occupant, its lesson was more or less stormily delivered, to the exclusion, for the greater part, of other prophecy, but it has not been found well to keep the tempestuous manner along with the fulminant matter in this volume.
Since the death of her husband, who had traded with success in a less elegant part of the town, she had resided every winter in a house in one of the streets near Portman Square.
It was in nothing more or less than the excessive "familiarity" of ordinary married life, and the lack of personal freedom allowed both parties to the contract.
It requires less effort in handling; the trimming of the sail-planes to the wind can be done with speed and accuracy; the unbroken spread of the sail-area is of infinite advantage; and the greatest possible amount of canvas can be displayed upon the least possible quantity of spars.
Concerning those that are more or less subject to envy: First, persons of eminent virtue, when they are advanced, are less envied.
This leaving of the younger children she had decided to be for the best; were she to remain they would probably gain less good by her precepts than harm by her example.
Such is the inevitable fate of men of action, and the higher they stand in the social hierarchy the less are they free.
if he had troubled himself less about the afflictions that threatened us in case of his death, I am convinced that dreaded event would not have taken place so soon.