least

[ leest ]
/ list /

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,
    1. at the lowest estimate or figure: The repairs will cost at least $100.
    2. 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, superlative of lǣssa less
Can be confusedleast lest let's

Definition for least (2 of 2)

little

[ lit-l ]
/ ˈlɪt l /

adjective, lit·tler or less or less·er, lit·tlest or least.

adverb, less, least.

noun

Origin of little

before 900; Middle English, Old English lȳtel (lȳt few, small + -el diminutive suffix), cognate with Dutch luttel, Old High German luzzil, Old Norse lītill
SYNONYMS FOR little
1–4 tiny, teeny, wee. Little, diminutive, minute, small refer to that which is not large or significant. Little (the opposite of big ) is very general, covering size, extent, number, quantity, amount, duration, or degree: a little boy; a little time. Small (the opposite of large and of great ) can many times be used interchangeably with little, but is especially applied to what is limited or below the average in size: small oranges. Diminutive denotes (usually physical) size that is much less than the average or ordinary; it may suggest delicacy: the baby's diminutive fingers; diminutive in size but autocratic in manner. Minute suggests that which is so tiny it is difficult to discern, or that which implies attentiveness to the smallest details: a minute quantity; a minute exam.
Related formslit·tlish [lit-l-ish, lit-lish] /ˈlɪt l ɪʃ, ˈlɪt lɪʃ/, adjectivelit·tle·ness, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for least (1 of 2)

least

/ (liːst) /

determiner

  1. the least the superlative of little you have the least talent of anyone
  2. (as pronoun; functioning as sing)least isn't necessarily worst
at least
  1. if nothing elseyou should at least try
  2. at the least
at the least or at least at the minimumat the least you should earn a hundred pounds
in the least (usually used with a negative) in the slightest degree; at allI 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

Old English lǣst, superlative of lǣssa less

British Dictionary definitions for least (2 of 2)

little

/ (ˈlɪtəl) /

determiner

adjective

adverb

Word Origin for little

Old English lӯtel; related to lӯr few, Old High German luzzil
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Idioms and Phrases with least (1 of 2)

least


In addition to the idioms beginning with least

  • least of all
  • least resistance, line of

also see:

  • at least
  • in the least
  • last but not least
  • to say the least

Idioms and Phrases with least (2 of 2)

little


In addition to the idioms beginning with little

  • little bird told one, a
  • little by little
  • little frog in a big pond
  • little knowledge is a dangerous thing, a
  • little pitchers have big ears

also see:

  • a little
  • every little bit helps
  • in one's own (little) world
  • make little of
  • precious few (little)
  • think little of
  • to little purpose
  • too little, too late
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.