Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

least

 - definition
 
 
 
Close

What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.

Close

Thesaurus

The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary entries. Click on the T button in an entry to review the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

more
adjective, adverb, determiner, pronoun American English pronunciation: least /list/
Least is the superlative form of little and can be used in the following ways:
as a determiner (followed by an uncountable noun): He generally takes the path of least resistance. (after "the"): These farming methods cause the least damage to the environment.
as a pronoun (without a following noun): People will choose the product that costs least. (after "the"): Abe works the hardest, yet he earns the least. (followed by "of"): That's the least of my problems.
as an adverb (after "the" and before an adjective): I think you are the least appropriate person for the job. (followed by an adverb): Production was slowest where time was least efficiently used. (with a verb): She was kind to me when I least expected it. (after "the" with a verb): The money seems to go to the people who need it the least.
as an adjective: At the least sign of trouble, he gets scared and quits.
 
  1. 1
    used for referring to a smaller amount than any other amount, or the smallest amount possible

    The President seemed to be the one who knew least about the crisis.

    He wonders why his most popular songs are always the ones he spends the least time on.

    I earn the least out of all of us.

    1. a.
      used for emphasizing how small something is, especially when it is so small that it almost does not exist

      He's a light sleeper and wakes up at the least noise.

      You don't have the least notion of how I'm feeling at the moment.

      I doubt anything you say will make the least difference to what he does.

    2. b.
      used for emphasizing that a particular problem is smaller or less important than other problems
      the least of something:

      I'll have to pay for the ticket, but that's the least of my worries.

      Money is the least of my problems right now.

    3. c.
      used for saying what the smallest amount that should be done about something is, and suggesting that more should really be done

      The least you can do is listen to what I have to say before you reject it completely.

      Let me pay for the dinner – it's the least I can do.

      The least he deserves is a compliment from time to time.

  2. 2
    used for saying that someone or something has less of a particular quality than anyone or anything else

    Hungary is one of the least polluted of the former East-bloc states.

    The least confusing route would be to stay on the interstate.

    The new taxes will fall on those least able to pay.

phrases

dark pool

a method of financial trading in which share prices are hidden and not openly available to the public

BuzzWord Article

Word of the Day

dividend

a share of the profits of a company, paid once or twice a year to the people who own the...

Open Dictionary

subtweet

to post a tweet, usually a negative one, that mentions a person without using the @ sign, so that they will not see the message on their Twitter feed …

add a word

Blog

A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog