WORD ORIGIN | IDIOMS adjective, a superl. of little with less or lesser as compar. smallest in size, amount, degree, etc.; slightest: He gave the least amount of money of anyone. lowest in consideration, position, or importance. noun something that is least; the least amount, quantity, degree, etc. South Midland U.S. the youngest in a family or group. adverb superl. of little with less as compar. to the smallest extent, amount, or degree: That's the least important question of all. He talks least. Idioms at least, at the lowest estimate or figure: The repairs will cost at least $100. at any rate; in any case: You didn't get a good grade, but at least you passed the course. Also at the least. not in the least, not in the smallest degree; not at all: I am not in the least concerned about the outcome of the World Series. Origin of least before 950; Middle English leest(e
Old English lǣst,
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
British Dictionary definitions for at the least determiner the least the superlative of little you have the least talent of anyone ( as pronoun; functioning as sing) least isn't necessarily worst at least if nothing else you should at least try at the least at the least or at least at the minimum at the least you should earn a hundred pounds in the least (usually used with a negative) in the slightest degree; at all I don't mind in the least adverb the least superlative of little they travel the least of all adjective of very little importance or rank Word Origin for least
lǣst, superlative of lǣssa less
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
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Word Origin and History for at the least adj.
læst, earlier læsest "smallest" (superlative of lytel "small"), from Proto-Germanic superlative *laisistaz (see less). Qualifying phrase at least is Middle English æt læstan. As a noun, from early 12c.; as an adverb, c.1200.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Idioms and Phrases with at the least
In addition to the idioms beginning with
least least of all least resistance, line of
at least in the least last but not least to say the least
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.