Use vs Less - What's the difference?

use | less |

As verbs the difference between use and less

is that use is while less is (obsolete) to make less; to lessen.

As an adverb less is

to smaller extent.

As an adjective less is


As a preposition less is

minus; not including.

As a conjunction less is

(obsolete) unless.



(wikipedia use)

Alternative forms

* (archaic)

Etymology 1

From (etyl) from Old English nytt.


(en noun)
  • The act of using.
  • * {{quote-magazine, date=2013-06-07, author= Ed Pilkington
  • , volume=188, issue=26, page=6, magazine=(The Guardian Weekly) , title= ‘Killer robots’ should be banned in advance, UN told , passage=In his submission to the UN, [Christof] Heyns points to the experience of drones. Unmanned aerial vehicles were intended initially only for surveillance, and their use for offensive purposes was prohibited, yet once strategists realised their perceived advantages as a means of carrying out targeted killings, all objections were swept out of the way.}}
  • Usefulness, benefit.
  • * Milton
  • God made two great lights, great for their use / To man.
  • * Alexander Pope
  • 'Tis use alone that sanctifies expense.
  • A function; a purpose for which something may be employed.
  • * {{quote-magazine, date=2013-07-26, author=(Leo Hickman)
  • , volume=189, issue=7, page=26, magazine=(The Guardian Weekly) , title= How algorithms rule the world , passage=The use of algorithms in policing is one example of their increasing influence on our lives. And, as their ubiquity spreads, so too does the debate around whether we should allow ourselves to become so reliant on them – and who, if anyone, is policing their use.}}
  • Occasion or need to employ; necessity.
  • I have no further use for these textbooks.
  • (obsolete, rare) Interest for lent money; premium paid for the use of something; usury.
  • * 1599 , (William Shakespeare), (Much Ado About Nothing) ,
  • DON PEDRO. Come, lady, come; you have lost the heart of Signior Benedick.
    BEATRICE. Indeed, my lord, he lent it me awhile; and I gave him use for it, a double heart for a single one: [...]
  • * Jeremy Taylor
  • Thou art more obliged to pay duty and tribute, use and principal, to him.
  • (archaic) Continued or repeated practice; usage; habit.
  • * Spenser
  • Let later age that noble use envy.
  • * Shakespeare
  • How weary, stale, flat and unprofitable, / Seem to me all the uses of this world!
  • (obsolete) Common occurrence; ordinary experience.
  • * Shakespeare
  • O Caesar! these things are beyond all use .
  • (religion) The special form of ritual adopted for use in any diocese.
  • the Sarum, or Canterbury, use'''; the Hereford '''use'''; the York '''use'''; the Roman '''use ; etc.
  • * Book of Common Prayer
  • From henceforth all the whole realm shall have but one use .
  • (forging) A slab of iron welded to the side of a forging, such as a shaft, near the end, and afterward drawn down, by hammering, so as to lengthen the forging.
  • Synonyms
    * (act of using) employment, usage, note, nait * (usefulness) benefit, good, point, usefulness, utility, note, nait
    Derived terms
    * disuse * fair use * hyper-use * misuse * no use * overuse * reuse * underuse * useful * useless * usement * what’s the use

    Etymology 2

    From (etyl) ).


  • (archaic) To accustom; to habituate.
  • :
  • *(John Milton) (1608–1674)
  • *:Thou with thy compeers, / Used to the yoke, draw'st his triumphant wheels.
  • To employ; to apply; to utilize.
  • :
  • :
  • *{{quote-magazine, year=2013, month=May-June, author= David Van Tassel], [ Lee DeHaan
  • , title= Wild Plants to the Rescue , volume=101, issue=3, magazine=(American Scientist) , passage=Plant breeding is always a numbers game.
  • To exhaust the supply of; to consume by employing
  • :
  • To exploit.
  • :
  • *{{quote-magazine, year=2013, month=September-October, author= Katie L. Burke
  • , magazine=(American Scientist), title= In the News , passage=Oxygen levels on Earth skyrocketed 2.4 billion years ago, when cyanobacteria evolved photosynthesis: the ability to convert water and carbon dioxide into carbohydrates and waste oxygen using solar energy.}}
  • (dated) To behave toward; to act with regard to; to treat.
  • :
  • *(John Milton) (1608–1674)
  • *:How wouldst thou use me now?
  • *(Joseph Addison) (1672–1719)
  • *:Cato has used me ill.
  • To habitually do; to be wont to do.
  • :
  • *Bible, 1 (w) iv.9
  • *:Use hospitality one to another.
  • *, I.48:
  • *:Peter Pol'', doctor in divinitie used to sit upon his mule, who as ''Monstrelet'' reporteth, was wont to ride up and downe the streets of ''Paris , ever sitting sideling, as women use .
  • * 1693 , Sir Norman Knatchbull, Annotations upon some difficult texts in all the books of the New Testament
  • For in the Rites of funeration they did use to anoint the dead body, with Aromatick Spices and Oyntments, before they buried them.
  • (past tense with infinitive) To habitually do. See used to.
  • :
  • Synonyms
    * engage, utilise * (exploit) take advantage of
    Derived terms
    * abuse * disuse * reuse * misuse * usability * usable * usage * used * used to * useful * user








  • To smaller extent.
  • * {{quote-magazine, year=2013, month=May-June, author= Katrina G. Claw
  • , title= Rapid Evolution in Eggs and Sperm , volume=101, issue=3, magazine=(American Scientist) , passage=In plants, the ability to recognize self from nonself plays an important role in fertilization, because self-fertilization will result in less diverse offspring than fertilization with pollen from another individual.}}
  • In lower degree.
  • *
  • , title=(The Celebrity), chapter=8 , passage=I corralled the judge, and we started off across the fields, in no very mild state of fear of that gentleman's wife, whose vigilance was seldom relaxed. And thus we came by a circuitous route to Mohair, the judge occupied by his own guilty thoughts, and I by others not less disturbing.}}
  • * {{quote-news, year=2012, date=November 7, author=Matt Bai, title=Winning a Second Term, Obama Will Confront Familiar Headwinds, work=New York Times citation
  • , passage=That brief moment after the election four years ago, when many Americans thought Mr. Obama’s election would presage a new, less fractious political era, now seems very much a thing of the past. }}


    * more


  • * 1624 , John Smith, Generall Historie , in Kupperman 1988, p. 141:
  • Those Rattels are somewhat like the chape of a Rapier, but lesse [...].
  • A smaller amount (of); not as much.
  • * {{quote-magazine, year=2013, month=May-June, author= William E. Conner
  • , title= An Acoustic Arms Race , volume=101, issue=3, page=206-7, magazine=(American Scientist) , passage=Earless ghost swift moths become “invisible” to echolocating bats by forming mating clusters close (less than half a meter) above vegetation and effectively blending into the clutter of echoes that the bat receives from the leaves and stems around them.}}
  • (proscribed) A smaller number of; fewer.
  • * 1952 , Thomas M Pryor, New York Times , 7 Sep 1952:
  • This is not a happy situation as far as the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employes is concerned because it means less jobs for the union's members here at home.
  • * 1999 , (George RR Martin), A Clash of Kings , Bantam 2011, p. 555:
  • No less than four standard-bearers went before them, carrying huge crimson banners emblazoned with the golden lion.
  • * 2003 , Timandra Harkness, The Guardian , 16 Dec 2003:
  • Although my hosts, G S Aviation, can teach you to fly in Wiltshire, an intensive week at their French airfield means less problems with the weather, cheap but good living, and complete removal from any distractions.

    Usage notes


    * more

    See also

    * fewer


    (English prepositions)
  • Minus; not including
  • It should then tax all of that as personal income, less the proportion of the car's annual mileage demonstrably clocked up on company business.


    * plus


  • (obsolete) To make less; to lessen.
  • (Gower)

    Derived terms

    * less is more * more or less * nevertheless


    (English Conjunctions)
  • (obsolete) unless
  • (Ben Jonson)