Least Least (l[=e]st), a. [OE. last, lest, AS. l[=ae]sast, l[=ae]sest, superl. of l[=ae]ssa less. See {Less}, a.] [Used as the superlative of little.] Smallest, either in size or degree; shortest; lowest; most unimportant; as, the least insect; the least mercy; the least space. [1913 Webster]

Note: Least is often used with the, as if a noun. [1913 Webster]

I am the least of the apostles. --1 Cor. xv. 9. [1913 Webster]

{At least}, or {At the least}, at the least estimate, consideration, chance, etc.; being no less than; hence, at any rate; at all events; even. See {However}. [1913 Webster]

He who tempts, though in vain, at least asperses The tempted with dishonor. --Milton. [1913 Webster]

Upon the mast they saw a young man, at least if he were a man, who sat as on horseback. --Sir P. Sidney.

{In least}, or {In the least}, in the least degree, manner, etc. ``He that is unjust in the least is unjust also in much.'' --Luke xvi. 10.

{Least squares} (Math.), a method of deducing from a number of carefully made yet slightly discordant observations of a phenomenon the most probable values of the unknown quantities.

Note: It takes as its fundamental principle that the most probable values are those which make the sum of the squares of the residual errors of the observation a minimum. [1913 Webster]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • least — [ list ] function word *** Least is the superlative form of little and can be used in the following ways: as a determiner (followed by an uncountable noun): He generally takes the path of least resistance. (after the ): These farming methods… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • least — ► DETERMINER & PRONOUN (usu. the least) ▪ smallest in amount, extent, or significance. ► ADJECTIVE ▪ used in names of very small animals and plants: least shrew. ► ADVERB ▪ to the smallest extent or degree. ● at least Cf. ↑ …   English terms dictionary

  • least — [lēst] adj. [ME lest < OE læsest, læst, superl. of læssa, LESS] 1. alt. superl. of LITTLE 2. smallest or slightest in size, degree, importance, etc. [the least movement] 3. Biol. very small: used in names of species or varieties [least… …   English World dictionary

  • least — 1. Least of all means ‘especially not’ and should only be used in negative contexts: • I am not going to try to play the role of prophet, least of all Jeremiah Listener, 1973. 2. Use less, not least, when contrasting two things: • The latter… …   Modern English usage

  • Least — Least, adv. In the smallest or lowest degree; in a degree below all others; as, to reward those who least deserve it. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • least — least; least·ways; least·wise; …   English syllables

  • Least — Least, conj. See {Lest}, conj. [Obs.] Spenser. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • least — (adj.) O.E. læst, earlier læsest smallest (superlative of lytel small ), from P.Gmc. superlative *laisistaz (see LESS (Cf. less)). Qualifying phrase at least is M.E. æt læstan. As a noun, from early 12c.; as an adverb, c.1200 …   Etymology dictionary

  • Least — may refer to: *Little *Child …   Wikipedia

  • least — index minimal Burton s Legal Thesaurus. William C. Burton. 2006 …   Law dictionary

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