adj. A superlative of little.
1. Lowest in importance or rank.
a. Smallest in magnitude or degree.
b. Slightest or tiniest: didn't care the least bit.
adv. Superlative of little.
To or in the lowest or smallest degree.
One that is the lowest or smallest in importance, rank, magnitude, or degree: The dinner menu is the least of my worries tonight. The least you can do is to be polite.
1. According to the lowest possible assessment; not less than: We waited at least an hour.
2. Regardless of what has occurred or will occur; in any case: You might at least answer the letter.
3. Used to emphasize a somewhat positive aspect following a negative one: The results weren't encouraging, but at least they were accurate.
in the least
At all: I don't mind in the least.
least of all
Particularly not: Nobody cared, least of all the manager.
[Middle English, from Old English lǣst; see leis-2 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.
American Heritage Dictionary Products
The American Heritage Dictionary, 5th Edition
The American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms
The American Heritage Roget's Thesaurus
Curious George's Dictionary
The American Heritage Children's Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Indo-European Roots
The American Heritage Student Grammar Dictionary
The American Heritage Desk Dictionary + Thesaurus
The American Heritage Science Dictionary
The American Heritage Dictionary of Business Terms
The American Heritage Student Dictionary
The American Heritage Essential Student Thesaurus