The word "lightweight" simply means, "relatively light in weight." If I want to compare two lightweight objects, can I say:

Is A lighterweight than B?

Dictionaries don't seem to accept this as a word but would a native speaker be confused or annoyed by it? If so, which alternative would be most appropriate:

Is A lighter weight than B?

Is A more lightweight than B?

Is A lighter-weight than B?


No you can not. I'm not sure why, but that just sounds weird and abrasive to me. Acceptable alternatives would include:

Is A lighter than B?

Is A more lightweight than B?

Which is in the lighter weight class, A or B?


This, of your three choices would be correct: "Is A more lightweight than B?"

If you look up the meaning and usage of "lightweight", as shown here...

light·weight /ˈlītˌwāt/ noun (from Google dictionary)

noun: lightweight; noun: light-weight

  1. a weight in boxing and other sports intermediate between featherweight and welterweight. In the amateur boxing scale it ranges from 125 to 132 pounds (57 to 60 kg).

• a lightweight boxer or other competitor.

plural noun: lightweights; plural noun: light-weights

  1. a person or thing that is lightly built or constructed.

• a person of little importance or influence, esp. in a particular sphere.

"he was regarded as a political lightweight"

adjective: lightweight; adjective: light-weight

  1. of thin material or build and weighing less than average.

"a lightweight gray suit"

  1. containing little serious matter.

"the newspaper is lightweight and trivial"

..."lightweight" is a noun or an adjective. In your first example: "Is A lighterweight than B?", your combined word "lighterweight" does not make sense. Since it, like "lightweight" would be a noun or adjective, try replace it with a noun or adjective to test for accuracy. Would either of these sentences make sense to you?

Is A book than B? or "Is A awesome than B?"

What you want to know is whether or not A weighs less than B so you must keep "lighter" and "weight" separate as their own words:

"Is A lighter weight than B?", or as you already proposed, "Is A more lightweight than B?", making "lightweight" an adjective in that example.


I think you would be understood with no problem, but I would not recommend it.

I'd go with something like

Does A weigh less than B?

  • 1
    'Lightweight' is also used in a metaphorical sense, when the comparative and superlative are allowed (at least by Wiktionary): Adjective lightweight (comparative more lightweight, superlative most lightweight) (1) Lacking in earnestness, ability, or profundity [or gravitas]. – Edwin Ashworth Dec 19 '13 at 16:58
  • @Edwin - Precisely so. A more lightweight book doesn't necessarily have fewer pages. – J.R. Dec 19 '13 at 17:09
  • @j.R. Most of my books have lots of pages. And lots of nice pictures. – Edwin Ashworth Dec 19 '13 at 17:41

The comparative suffix cannot be "embedded" into a compound word.

light + weight = single-word lightweight.

Also, avoid declensions using the -er suffix in case of words longer than three syllables or so.


easier, but more difficult (*difficulter)
simpler, but more complex (*complexer)

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