less - definition and synonyms

adverb, determiner, preposition, pronoun 

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Less is the comparative form of the function word little and can be used in the following ways:
as a determiner (before a noun): Eat less fat.Schools put less emphasis on being creative.
as a pronoun: Connie did less than anyone else. (followed by ‘of’): He seemed to spend less of his time with her.
as an adverb (before an adjective or another adverb): The red jacket is less expensive. (with a verb): I’ve been trying to work less at the weekends.
as a preposition (before a noun): a profit of £3,000, less tax
  1. 1
    used for referring to an amount that is smaller than another amount, smaller than before, or smaller than you expected

    You should eat less and exercise more.

    The industry operates with less government control these days.


    The new Ford is designed to use less fuel than earlier models.

    The workers earn less now than they did ten years ago.

    less of:

    I aim to spend less of my time travelling.

    a little/bit less:

    I wish you’d do a bit less talking and a bit more work.

    much/a lot/far less:

    Payments will be a lot less than many people were expecting.

    There is far less trouble in the region now than there has ever been.

     Synonyms and related words
  2. 2
    used for saying that there is not as much of a particular quality in one person or thing as in another, or not as much as there was before

    Many women are involved in the movement, but less publicly than men.

    much/a lot/far less:

    The homework was a lot less difficult than I expected.

    less of a:

    Getting there is less of a problem if you have a car.

     Synonyms and related words
  3. 3
    not happening as much
    1. a.
      happening or doing something fewer times or for shorter periods of time

      We’ve been trying to use the telephone less this month to keep costs down.

      less than:

      We talk a lot less than we used to.

    2. b.
      to a smaller degree

      My husband worries about things less than I do.

      not...any (the) less:

      Even after she told me, I didn’t respect her any less.

       Synonyms and related words
  4. 4
    used in front of a number or amount to state that it should be taken away from another number or amount that you have just mentioned

    We made £2,000 profit on the deal, less tax.

  5. 5
    used for saying that one way of describing someone or something is not as true or as accurate as another

    His statement was less an apology than a confession.

    The problem may be less a social issue than a legal one.