Meaning of “less” in the English Dictionary

"less" in British English

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lessdeterminer, pronoun, adverb

uk /les/ us /les/

A2 a smaller amount (of), or to a smaller degree:

We must try to spend less money.
Exercise more and eat less.
I eat less chocolate and fewer biscuits than I used to.
Getting out of bed in summer is less difficult than in winter.
less than ...

used to say that behaviour does not have the good or attractive characteristic that is stated:

I think he was less than honest with me.
less and less

If something happens less and less, it becomes gradually smaller in amount or happens less often:

He's less and less able to look after himself.

More examples

  • The buses run less frequently on Sundays.
  • The survey reveals that two-thirds of married women earn less than their husbands.
  • The students accomplished the task in less than ten minutes.
  • Do you pay less tax if you're self-employed?
  • If you eat three good meals a day, you're less likely to snack on biscuits and crisps.

lesspreposition

uk /les/ us /les/

-lesssuffix

uk / -ləs/ /-lɪs/ us / -ləs/ /-lɪs/

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

"less" in American English

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lessadjective, adverb

us /les/

less adjective, adverb (SMALLER AMOUNT)

a smaller amount of something, to a smaller degree, or not as much; comparative oflittle :

We’ve got to spend less money.
It was less than a mile to the nearest gas station.
She had less reason to complain than I.
Skiing conditions this year are less than ideal (= not good).
There were no less than (= as many as) a thousand people buying tickets.

Idiom(s)

lesspreposition

us /les/

less preposition (SUBTRACT)

minus ; after subtracting:

$30, less the discount of 15%, is $25.50.

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

"less" in Business English

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lesspreposition

uk /les/ us

after subtracting a particular number or amount:

The account will pay at least base rate less 0.25% until 31 March next year.

(Definition of “less” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)