The word "least" is the opposite of "most." It describes an amount that is smaller than other amounts.
- Of the three choices, she likes the orange one the least.
- Joe puts the least amount of effort in getting his work finished. He’s very lazy.
- That was one of the least interesting classes I have ever taken. It was very boring.
- Finding a new job is the least of her problems. She has many other problems to deal with.
- The least amount of pain and suffering happened at the beginning of the war; most of the war’s devastation was felt towards the end of it.
The preposition "at" is often placed in front of "least" to form "at least." This is a kind of idiom that we use to describe some advantage despite a difficulty.
- Tom has a difficult job. At least it’s interesting.
- Their company went out of business. At least everyone received one final paycheck.
- The party was held under a very cloudy sky. At least it didn’t rain.
- He lost all of his money and his house…
…but at least he still has his donkey.
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January 6, 2013