Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Lowest in importance or rank.
  • adjective Smallest in magnitude or degree.
  • adjective Slightest or tiniest.
  • adverb To or in the lowest or smallest degree.
  • noun One that is the lowest or smallest in importance, rank, magnitude, or degree.
  • idiom (at least) According to the lowest possible assessment; not less than.
  • idiom (at least) Regardless of what has occurred or will occur; in any case.
  • idiom (at least) Used to emphasize a somewhat positive aspect following a negative one.
  • idiom (in the least) At all.
  • idiom (least of all) Particularly not.

from The Century Dictionary.

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

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adverb In the smallest or lowest degree; in a degree below all others.
  • conjunction obsolete See lest, conj.
  • adjective Smallest, either in size or degree; shortest; lowest; most unimportant
  • adjective at the least estimate, consideration, chance, etc.; being no less than; hence, at any rate; at all events; even. See However.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

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

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

  • noun something that is of no importance
  • adverb used to form the superlative
  • adjective 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

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

[Middle English, from Old English lǣst; see leis- in Indo-European roots.]

Examples

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