Meaning of LEAST in English


I. ˈlēst adjective

Etymology: Middle English leest, from Old English lǣst; akin to Old Frisian lērest least; superl. corresponding to the compar. represented by Old English lǣssa less, smaller — more at less

1. : lowest in importance or position

the least of my worries

anyone who preached its abrogation would be least in the Kingdom of Heaven — M.R.Cohen


a. : smallest in size or degree

the least finger of his left hand appeared to have suffered a slight sprain — Elinor Wylie

b. now dialect : being the smallest or youngest child — often used in the phrase least one or least un

one of the least uns at home gets took down — M.E.Sheppard

too busy … to show affection for any but the least one — Charlie M. Simon

c. : being a member of a kind distinguished by diminutive size — used in plant or animal names

d. : smallest possible : slightest

the least noise would startle her

negotiates his way with trust and the least violence — Robert Francis

treasures every least indication that she may be softer than her sister — E.K.Brown

the least means shall be used to achieve the greatest end — Robert Richman

believed that the least government was the best government — Irving Stone

II. noun

( -s )

Etymology: Middle English leest, from Old English lǣst, from lǣst, adjective

1. : something that is least : something of the lowest or slightest possible value, importance, or scope

that's the least of my worries

the least that may be said

at his least … he is diverting — Robert Phelps

the least it can then do is to lend a hand — W.H.Whyte

2. : a game in skat in which the object is to win as few points as possible with jacks trumps and with a base value of 10 points and which is played when no player bids voluntarily

- at least

- in the least

III. adverb

Etymology: Middle English leest, from leest, adjective

: in the smallest or lowest degree

the least important of his reasons

may grant a divorce to the party least in fault — Morris Ploscowe

the Federal government acts best when it acts least — Max Ascoli

Webster's New International English Dictionary.      Новый международный словарь английского языка Webster.