- 1not as great in size, amount, or importance as something or someone else people of lesser importance They were all involved to a greater or lesser degree (= some were more involved than others). The law was designed to protect wives, and, to a lesser extent, children. He was encouraged to plead guilty to the lesser offense. (humorous) He doesn't even acknowledge us lesser mortals (= people who are not as important or powerful). A lesser woman would have given up.
- 2used in the names of some types of animals, birds, and plants that are smaller than similar kinds a lesser black-backed gull opposite great Idioms
NAmE//ˈlɛsər//[only before noun]
the less unpleasant of two unpleasant choices
the lesser of two evils, the lesser eviljump to other results
one of the lesser-known Caribbean islands
lesser adverbjump to other results