less [ les ] function word ***
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 on the weekends.
as a preposition (before a noun):
a profit of $5,000, less tax
1. ) a smaller amount
a ) 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.
less...than: 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 traveling from place to place.
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.
b ) less than used before a number or amount to say that the actual number or amount is smaller than this:
His death was the second skiing tragedy in less than a week.
In some areas there is a less than 30% turnout in local elections.
2. ) used in making comparisons 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:
Farmers are having to work with older, less efficient equipment.
less...than: 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.
3. ) not happening as much
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.
b ) to a smaller degree:
less...than: 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.
4. ) taking a number away 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 $3,000 profit on the deal, less tax.
5. ) not as much like one thing as another used for saying that one way of describing someone or something is not as true or as accurate as another:
less...than: His statement was less an apology than a confession.
The problem may be less a social issue than a legal one.
in less than no time
extremely quickly:
We called the ambulance, which arrived in less than no time.
less and less
gradually getting smaller in amount or degree:
Fishing was growing less and less profitable.
Though the public cares about the story less and less, the papers continue to report it.
the less...the less/more
used for saying that when a particular activity, feeling, etc. is reduced, it causes something else to change at the same time:
Sometimes it seems like the less I do, the more tired I feel.
less than honest/satisfactory/happy etc.
used for saying that someone or something is not at all honest/satisfactory/happy etc.:
The director admits that he was less than enthusiastic about the new school uniforms.
It was obviously a less than perfect marriage.
The President has been shown to be less than honest.
no less
used for emphasizing that the person or thing you are talking about is very important:
She received a letter from the President, no less.
no less than
1. ) used before a number or amount for saying that it is the lowest possible:
The hamburgers should contain no less than 50% meat.
2. ) used before a number or amount for showing that it is large and surprising:
Exports have risen by no less than 80% in the last ten years.
nothing less than
used for emphasizing how important or serious something really is:
Their willingness to work together is nothing less than miraculous.
still/much/even less
used after a negative statement in order to emphasize that it applies even more to what you say next:
They are not interested in reading poetry, still less in writing it.
I am no one's spokesman, much less his.

Usage of the words and phrases in modern English. 2013.

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  • less — [les] adj. [ME les < OE læs, adv. læssa, adj. (used as compar. of lytel, LITTLE), akin to OFris les < IE * leis < base * lei , to diminish, meager, > LITTLE] 1. alt. compar. of LITTLE 2. not so much; smaller in size or amount [to… …   English World dictionary

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  • Less — Less, a. [OE. lesse, AS. l[=ae]ssa; akin to OFries. l[=e]ssa; a compar. from a lost positive form. Cf. {Lesser}, {Lest}, {Least}. Less has the sense of the comparative degree of little.] Smaller; not so large or great; not so much; shorter;… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

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