Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Lowest in importance or rank.
  • adj. Smallest in magnitude or degree.
  • adj. Slightest or tiniest: didn't care the least bit.
  • adv. To or in the lowest or smallest degree.
  • n. One that is the lowest or smallest in importance, rank, magnitude, or degree: The dinner menu is the least of my worries tonight. The least you can do is to be polite.
  • idiom at least According to the lowest possible assessment; not less than: waited at least an hour.
  • idiom at least In any event; anyway: You might at least answer.
  • idiom in the least At all: I don't mind in the least.
  • idiom least of all Particularly not: Nobody cared, least of all the manager.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adv. Used for forming superlatives of adjectives, especially those that do not form the superlative by adding -est.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Smallest, either in size or degree; shortest; lowest; most unimportant
  • adv. In the smallest or lowest degree; in a degree below all others.
  • conj. See lest, conj.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Smallest; little in size or degree, etc., beyond all others: answering as superlative to little.
  • In the smallest or lowest degree; in a degree below all others: as, to reward those who least deserve it.
  • An obsolete spelling of lest.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. something that is of no importance
  • adv. used to form the superlative
  • adj. the superlative of `little' that can be used with mass nouns and is usually preceded by `the'; a quantifier meaning smallest in amount or extent or degree

Etymologies

Middle English, from Old English lǣst; see leis-2 in Indo-European roots.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

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