Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

less

2 determiner, pronoun
     
less2 S1 W1
1
a) a smaller amount or not as much [≠ more]:
Doctors recommend eating less salt.
People today seem to have less time for each other.
Most of us got £4 an hour, but some received even less.
less of
The map covered less of the area than I'd thought.
Flying is less of a risk than driving.
less (...) than
She knows less than I do about it.
less than 10/100 etc
a distance of less than 100 metres
much/a lot less
It costs much less to go by bus.
b) used to mean 'fewer' or 'not as many', although many people think this use is incorrect [≠ more]:
There were less people there than we expected.
see usage note few
2

no less

a) used to emphasize that an amount or number is large
no less than
By 1977, the USA was importing no less than 45% of its oil.
b) used to emphasize that the person or thing you are talking about is important or impressive:
Our awards were presented by the mayor, no less.
The message came from no less a person than the prime minister.
3

nothing less than something

used to emphasize how important, serious, or impressive something is:
His appearance in the show was nothing less than a sensation.
4

less and less

a decreasing amount of something [≠ more and more]:
They began spending less and less time together.
less and less of
The band was doing less and less of that kind of music.
5

in less than no time

very quickly or very soon:
In less than no time they found that they owed over $10,000.
6

less of something

British English spoken used to tell a child to stop doing something:
Less of that noise, please!
WORD CHOICE: WORD CHOICE:

a few, few, a little, little, a bit, fewer, less
a few and few are used before plural nouns.a few means 'a small number' It will take a few minutes. I've got a few friends who live nearby.few means 'not many'. It emphasizes how small the number is. It is mainly used in writing or formal speech Few people would deny her talent. He has few interests outside his work.In spoken English or informal writing it is more usual to say not many Not many people saw what happened. a little and little are used before uncountable nouns.a little means 'some, but not a lot' We still have a little time left.In spoken British English, it is more usual to say a bit 'Are you tired?' 'A bit.' I've got a bit of money left.little means 'not much'. It emphasizes how small the amount is. It is mainly used in writing or formal speech There is now little hope of success.In spoken English or informal writing it is more usual to say not much There was not much milk left.The comparative of few is fewer Few people have read the book, and even fewer understand it.The comparative of little is less We know little about his adult life, and less about his childhood.!! Sometimes people use less before a plural noun, but many people think that this is incorrect, so it is better to use fewer a village of fewer (NOT less) than 200 inhabitantsSee also few

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