lesser

[ les-er ]
/ ˈlɛs ər /

adjective, a compar. of little with least as superl.

smaller, as in size or importance; inferior: a lesser evil.

adverb, a compar. of little with least as superl.

Origin of lesser

First recorded in 1175–1225, lesser is from the Middle English word lasser, lesser. See less, -er4

Can be confused

lesser lessor

Definition for lesser (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 forms

lit·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

Examples from the Web for lesser

British Dictionary definitions for lesser (1 of 2)

lesser

/ (ˈlɛsə) /

adjective

not as great in quantity, size, or worth

British Dictionary definitions for lesser (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 lesser

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.