Inflections of 'little' (adj):

  1. For size or age:

Littler ("That tree is little, but the tree next to it is even littler."). Littlest ("Theo is the littlest of my three little brothers.")

  1. For amount:

less (e.g. "I have little money. Certainly less money than him.") Least (—e.g. "I have little money, but Jim is the one who has least money out of all of us.")

  1. For degree or intensity

Lesser (—e.g. "She has little love for him. Certainly, her love for him is lesser than her love for her mother.")

Then what's the superlative form of the adjective "little" for degree or intensity?

  • I doubt that there is one. Even for size, smaller and smallest would be more commonly used. Nov 21, 2020 at 17:03
  • @KateBunting LESSER [comparative of little with least as superlative.] 1) adj. smaller, as in size, value, or importance: a lesser evil. 2) adv. less. wordreference.com/definition/LESS
    – GJC
    Nov 21, 2020 at 17:05
  • 1
    'Certainly, her love for him is lesser than her love for her mother' is antiquated (at best), unidiomatic. less. 'But her love for cousin Ignatius was least.' Nov 21, 2020 at 17:44
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    @KateBunting 'Littlest' certainly exists in idiomatic speech. It is sufficiently familiar that there is a sentimental children's film and several TV series called The Littlest Hobo with a dog hero who is a cross between Lassie and Kwai Chang Caine from the 1970s Kung Fu series.
    – BoldBen
    Nov 22, 2020 at 1:24
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    @BoldBen I didn't say that littlest didn't exist, but I associate it mainly with, as you say, sentimental references to small children or animals. Nov 22, 2020 at 8:57

2 Answers 2



There is a thread about it here. Seems like it's a bit debatable whether is 100% correct but while it sounds kind of funny I think it's perfectly fine. However you can usually find a better way to more accurately describe what you need to.


The superlative corresponding to “lesser” is “(the) least”, as in “to the least extent” vs. “to a lesser extent”.


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