less than

Not at all or hardly at all. For example, He had a less than favorable view of the matter, or She had a less than adequate grasp of the subject. This expression uses less in the sense of “a smaller quantity, number, or extent than is implied,” a usage dating from about a.d. 1000. The same sense appears in less than no time, a hyperbolic term for a very short time (as in Don't worry, he'll be here in less than no time) that dates from about 1800.

Words Nearby less than

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.

How to use less than in a sentence

  • The competitor who paid the less-than-carload rate on an equal volume of business would be sadly handicapped.

  • King threw away his less-than-half-consumed cheroot and they started to walk together toward King's camp.

  • They are not seen; they are not heard, they are less-than nothing, and there is no intercession.

    Green Mansions | W. H. Hudson