adjective, a compar. of little with least as superl.
adverb, a compar. of little with least as superl.
Origin of lesser
adjective, lit·tler or less or less·er, lit·tlest or least.
adverb, less, least.
Origin of little
Synonyms for little
Examples from the Web for lesser
Contemporary Examples of lesser
The other songs go in to lesser percentages of “me” as you move along.Belle & Sebastian Aren’t So Shy Anymore
January 7, 2015
An ace comedic turn that, in lesser hands, would come off as one-note.Oscars 2015: The Daily Beast’s Picks, From Scarlett Johansson to ‘Boyhood’
January 6, 2015
Why is the killing of a million a lesser crime than the killing of an individual?The Man Who Invented the Word ‘Genocide’
November 19, 2014
The three parades since 9/11 have all been for lesser heroes.It’s Time for Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans to Get a Parade of Their Own
November 11, 2014
Coltrane, a man of almost unbelievable gentleness made human to us lesser mortals by his very occasional rages.The Stacks: John Coltrane’s Mighty Musical Quest
October 18, 2014
Historical Examples of lesser
They affected that they never habitually thought of lesser concerns.The Spenders
Harry Leon Wilson
All lesser forms of lying are forbidden along with the greater.An Explanation of Luther's Small Catechism
Too much knowledge is even as great a danger as a lesser amount sometimes.Thoroughbreds
W. A. Fraser
The man of purpose says no to all lesser calls, all minor opportunities.The Call of the Twentieth Century
David Starr Jordan
I recall but indifferently the lesser topics of conversation.In the Valley
- a small quantity, extent, or duration ofthe little hope there is left; very little milk
- (as pronoun)save a little for me
- a lot
Word Origin for little
Old English lytel "not large, not much; short in distance or time; unimportant," also used in late Old English as a noun, "small piece; a short time," from West Germanic *lutilla- (cf. Old Saxon luttil, Dutch luttel, Old High German luzzil, German lützel, Gothic leitils "little"), perhaps originally a diminutive of the root of Old English lyt "little, few," from PIE *leud- "small." "Often synonymous with small, but capable of emotional implications which small is not" [OED].
Phrase the little woman "wife" attested from 1795. Little people "the faeries" is from 1726; as "children," it is attested from 1752; as "ordinary people" (opposed to the great), it is attested from 1827. Little Neck clams (1884) are so called for Little Neck, Long Island, a "neck" of land on the island's North Shore. Little by little is from late 15c. (litylle be litille). Little green men "space aliens" is from 1950. Little black dress is from 1939.
At the beginning of summer, smart women who stay in town like to wear sheer "little black dresses." Because most "little black dresses" look alike, retailers struggle each year to find something which will make them seem new. ["Life," June 13, 1939]
Little Orphan Annie originally was (as Little Orphant Annie) the character in James Whitcomb Riley's 1885 poem, originally titled "Elf Child." The U.S. newspaper comic strip created by Harold Gray (1894-1968) debuted in 1924 in the New York "Daily News."
LITTLE Orphant Annie's come to our house to stay,
An' wash the cups an' saucers up, an' brush the crumbs away,
An' shoo the chickens off the porch, an' dust the hearth, an' sweep,
An' make the fire, an' bake the bread, an' earn her board-an'-keep;
An' all us other childern, when the supper-things is done,
We set around the kitchen fire an' has the mostest fun
A-list'nin' to the witch-tales 'at Annie tells about,
An' the Gobble-uns 'at gits you
[Riley, "Elf Child"]
OE lytlian, from root of little (adj.).
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
- 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