least


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Related to least: least common multiple, Least Restrictive Environment

at the least

The lowest amount possible; the absolute minimum. Often indicates the belief that a greater amount is likely or should be considered. I'd say it will take four of us at the least to push this out of the way.
See also: least

at the very least

1. At or of the lowest amount possible; at the absolute minimum. Often indicates the belief that a greater amount is likely or should be considered. I know you don't have much money, but you should pay for your own dinner at the very least. The contractor said the repair work would cost $900 at the very least.
2. In any event; regardless; despite what else may have happened or is the case. I know you aren't interested in seeing this play, but at the very least we'll have a nice night out on the town. I know you don't see eye to eye with your father, but he's trying to maintain a relationship with you at the very least.
See also: least, very

the least (someone) could do

Something that someone ought to do; the very minimum someone should do. I know you're angry with your father, but he seems like he really wants to make amends. The least you could do is hear him out. A: "Thank you so much for the lovely card and wonderful bottle of wine!" B: "It was the least we could do after you took care of our pets while we were away."
See also: could, least

at least

anyway; in spite of difficulties. At least we had a good evening, even though the afternoon was rainy. At least we came away with some of our money left.
See also: least

at least so many

no less than; no fewer than. There were at least four people there that I knew. I want to spend at least three weeks in Mexico.
See also: least, many

Idle people have the least leisure.

 and Idle folk have the least leisure.
Prov. If you are not energetic and hardworking, you will never have any free time, since you will have to spend all your time finishing your work. My grandmother always told me not to dawdle, since idle people have the least leisure.
See also: have, idle, least, leisure, people

last but not least

Cliché last in sequence, but not last in importance. (Often said when introducing people.) The speaker said, "And now, last but not least, I'd like to present Bill Smith, who will give us some final words." And last but not least, here is the final graduate.
See also: but, last, least, not

least little thing

the smallest possible thing. He gets upset over the least little thing. When she was a girl, she would throw a tantrum over the least little thing.
See also: least, little, thing

least of all

the thing of smallest importance. (Compare this with most of all.) There were many things wrong with the new house. Least of all, the water faucets leaked. What a bad day. Many things went wrong, but least of all, I tore my shirt.
See also: all, least, of

line of least resistance

the course of action that will cause least trouble or effort. Jane won't stand up for her rights. She always takes the line of least resistance. Joan never states her point of view. She takes the line of least resistance and agrees with everyone else.
See also: least, line, of, resistance

path of least resistance

Fig. the easiest course to follow; the easiest route. (Often with follow the or take the.) John will follow the path of least resistance. I like challenges. I won't usually take the path of least resistance.
See also: least, of, path, resistance

to say the least

at the very least; without overemphasizing the subject; to put it mildly. We were not at all pleased with her work—to say the least. When they had an accident, they were upset to say the least.
See also: least, say

when least expected

when one does not expect something. An old car is likely to give you trouble when least expected. My pencil usually breaks when least expected.
See also: expect, least

last but not least

important, despite being mentioned at the end The mall has sports and shoe and clothing stores and, last but not least, plenty of terrific places to eat.
See also: but, last, least, not

at (the very) least

1. not less than At least 73,000 homes are without power in the Atlanta area. The repair will cost $100 at the very least.
Usage notes: always used with a particular amount or measure: At the least, the room is 30 feet long.
2. more exactly at any rate I can handle it – at least, I think I can. The car was damaged, but at least no one was hurt.
Usage notes: often used to make a statement sound less strong
3. whatever happens At least Josh tried to apologize. At the very least, you should call to tell me that you've arrived there safely.
Usage notes: the same meaning can be also expressed by come hell or high water, come what may, either way, in any case, and in any event
See also: least

least of all

especially not No one believed her, least of all me.
See also: all, least, of

not in the least

not in any way not in the slightest “Is he bothering you?” “Not in the least.”
See also: least, not

the least you can do

also the least you could do
something you should do If Bob wants to apologize, the least you can do is listen.
See also: can, least

the path of least resistance

the way that is the easiest Thieves usually take the path of least resistance, taking the cars that are easiest to steal.
See also: least, of, path, resistance

to say the least

to not mention as much as you could about something The dinner was tasteless, to say the least.
See also: least, say

last but not least

something that you say before introducing the last person or thing on a list, meaning that they are equally important This is Jeremy, this is Kath, and, last but not least, this is Artie. Right, I've got my money, my sunglasses and, last but not least, my lipstick.
See also: but, last, least, not

Least said, soonest mended.

  (British & Australian old-fashioned)
something that you say which means a bad event or situation can be forgotten more easily if you do not talk about it I've always thought it best not to dwell on grievances too long. Least said, soonest mended.
See also: least, soon

take the line/path of least resistance

to act in the way which will be easiest because you will not have to argue with other people about it You could always take the line of least resistance and go with the majority vote.
See also: least, line, of, resistance, take

at least

1. Also, at the least. According to the lowest possible assessment, no less than. For example, At least a dozen more chairs are needed, or The job will take four hours at the least. [c. 1050]
2. Anyway, anyhow, as in At least you got there on time, or The children enjoyed the dessert at least. [c. 1050] For synonyms, see at any rate; in any case.
See also: least

at the least

see under at least.
See also: least

in the least

Also, in the slightest. At all, in the smallest degree. These terms are nearly always used in a negative context. For example, I don't care in the least what you do with the money, or It doesn't matter in the slightest whether or not you attend. [c. 1600] They may also be put as not in the least or not in the slightest, as in I am not in the least worried about the outcome, or The heat doesn't bother me in the slightest. In the least dates from about 1600; in the slightest has been used in the sense of "emphatically unimportant or trifling" since the late 1500s.
See also: least

last but not least

Last in sequence but not least in importance, as in Last but not least, I want to thank all the people who sent me copies of my article in the paper . [Late 1500s]
See also: but, last, least, not

least of all

Especially not. For example, No one cared, least of all the manager, or None of them will attend, least of all Jim. [Late 1800s]
See also: all, least, of

least resistance, line of

Also, path of least resistance. The easiest method, way, or course of action. For example, He tends to do what most people seem to want, taking the line of least resistance. This term employs resistance in the sense of "the physical opposition of one thing or force to another," a usage dating from the early 1600s. It has been used figuratively since about 1900.
See also: least, line, of

to say the least

Not to exaggerate, as in When the ring turned up in the lost and found, she was delighted, to say the least. This idiom was first recorded in 1809.
See also: least, say

when least expected

When something is not awaited, as in My brother always calls when least expected, or You might know that the furnace would break down when least expected-we just had it overhauled .
See also: expect, least

at least

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.
See also: least

in the least

At all: I don't mind in the least.
See also: least

least of all

Particularly not: Nobody cared, least of all the manager.
See also: all, least, of
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