Origin: OE. Last, lest, AS. Lsast, lsest, superl. Of lssa less. See Less] Smallest, either in size or degree; shortest; lowest; most unimportant; as, the least insect; the least mercy; the least space.
Least is often used with the, as if a noun. "I am the least of the apostles." (1 Cor. Xv. 9) at least, or At the least, at the least estimate, consideration, chance, etc.; hence, at any rate; at all events; even. See However. "He who tempts, though in vain, at least asperses The tempted with dishonor." (Milton) "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." .
(01 Mar 1998)
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