Meaning of “least” in the English Dictionary

british dictionary

"least" in British English

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leastadverb, determiner, pronoun

uk /liːst/ us /liːst/

B1 less than anything or anyone else; the smallest amount or number:

This group is the least likely of the four to win.
Disaster struck when we least expected it.
It was the answer she least wanted to hear.
I like the green one least of all.
He's the relative I like (the) least.
No one believed her, least of all (= especially not) the police.
They refused to admit her, not least because (= there were several reasons but this was an important one) she didn't have her membership card with her.

More examples

  • That must be the colour I like least in the whole world!
  • If I only had one course and no drinks, I ought to pay least, surely?
  • Marilyn is the least vain person I know - she's convinced she's ugly!
  • Which of these outfits do you think cost least?
  • Michael, you hardly got any notes right - it's easy to see which of you three has practised least this week.

(Definition of “least” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"least" in American English

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leastadjective, adverb, pronoun

us /list/

less than anything or anyone else; (of) the smallest amount or number; superlative oflittle :

I’m not the least bit concerned.
That’s the answer I least wanted to hear.
Which car costs the least?

(Definition of “least” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)