Least in different languages

Least in Different Languages

Discover 'Least' in 134 Languages: Dive into Translations, Hear Pronunciations, and Uncover Cultural Insights.

Updated on March 6, 2024

The word 'least', while seemingly simple, carries a significant weight in our vocabulary. It represents the smallest degree or amount, allowing us to make nuanced comparisons and express ourselves more precisely. This cultural importance is reflected in its translations across languages, each carrying its own unique flair and cultural context.

Did you know that 'least' has roots in the Old English 'læsste', which is derived from the Proto-Germanic 'laisista'? This historical context underlines the deep-seated nature of this word in our language and culture. Moreover, understanding the translations of 'least' in different languages can provide fascinating insights into how different cultures express quantity and degree.

For instance, in Spanish, 'least' translates to 'menos', while in French, it's 'le moindre'. In German, it's 'am wenigsten', and in Japanese, it's '最小' (saishō). These translations not only help in cross-cultural communication but also offer a glimpse into the unique linguistic tapestry of each culture.

Stay tuned to explore more translations of 'least' in various languages, and deepen your understanding of the world's rich linguistic and cultural diversity.


Least in Sub-Saharan African Languages

Afrikaansdie minste
The Afrikaans word "die minste" is a cognate of the Dutch word "de minste" and the German word "die minste", and all three words share the same Proto-Germanic root, "minnizōstaz", which means "smallest".
In Amharic, the word ቢያንስ (least) also has the meaning of 'minimum'.
Hausamafi ƙarancin
Opekempe may also mean 'the youngest' or 'the last born' in Igbo.
Malagasykely indrindra
The Malagasy word "kely indrindra" can also mean "very small" or "insignificant".
Nyanja (Chichewa)osachepera
The Nyanja word "osachepera" can also mean "last, final" or "least important".
The word "zvishoma" can also refer to a small amount or a small group of people.
Somaliugu yaraan
The word "ugu yaraan" also means "the most" or "at most" in Somali, a semantic duality not found in English.
"Bonyane" may refer to "the base of something" or "a type of traditional beer"
Angalau is a combination of the prefix 'an-' (the') and the noun 'galau' (trouble), suggesting the idea of 'the least amount of trouble'.
Ubuncinci also means "the little one" in Xhosa.
Yorubao kere ju
"O kere ju" also means "the one that is left, the one that remains" in Yoruba.
The Zulu word "okungenani" not only means "least" but also refers to the "little finger or toe"
Ewesuetᴐ kekiake
Lugandaekitono ennyo
Twi (Akan)ketewa

Least in North African & Middle Eastern Languages

The word "الأقل" (least) is the superlative form of "قليل" (little or few) and can also mean "less" or "the most inferior."
Hebrewהכי פחות
The word "הכי פחות" can also be used to mean "very little" or "hardly any."
In Pashto, “لږترلږه” is the superlative of the comparative degree of an adjective (“کمتر” meaning “less”) and literally means “of the most less”.
The word "الأقل" (least) is the superlative form of "قليل" (little or few) and can also mean "less" or "the most inferior."

Least in Western European Languages

Albanianmë së paku
The word "më së paku" in Albanian literally means "more than less" and is cognate with the Latin "minimum".
The word "gutxien" in Basque is a compound of "gutxi" (few) and "-en" (the suffix indicating superlative), and can also mean "rare" or "scant".
The word "menys" in Catalan also means "minus".
The word 'najmanje' in Croatian is derived from the Proto-Slavic root *naimenjь, which also means 'smallest'.
"Mindst" is cognate with the English word "minus" and shares its etymological roots with "minimum."
The word "minst" in Dutch is a contraction of "min" (less) and "st" (a superlative suffix), and is cognate with the English word "most".
The word 'least' derives from an Old English word, 'læst', meaning 'footprint' or 'track'.
"Moins" can also mean "minus" or "less" in French.
The word "minst" in Frisian is derived from Old Frisian "min" and is related to West Frisian "minsk" and Old English "myne" meaning "small" or "lesser".
In Galician, "menos" can also mean "lesser" or "lower".
Germanam wenigsten
The German word "am wenigsten" is the superlative form of "wenig" (little) and literally means "at the little" or "at the least amount".
Sist derives from the Old Norse "sistr" meaning "last", "hindmost" or "latest", related to the word "síðan" meaning "since", "later" or "afterwards".
Irishar a laghad
"Ar a laghad" literally translates to "on its low", suggesting a lower limit or extent.
"Meno" also means "minus" in Italian and "less" in Spanish, Portuguese, and Romanian.
"Mannst" also means "moon", and is the origin of the first name "Manou".
The Maltese word "l-inqas" derives from the Arabic word "al-aqs," meaning "the most distant" or "the end."
The Norwegian word "minst" is closely related to the English "minus" and also shares its mathematical connotation.
Portuguese (Portugal, Brazil)menos
"Menos" also means "minus" in mathematics and "fewer" in English.
Scots Gaelicas lugha
"As lugha" or "as lugha dheth" can also mean "the smallest" in terms of size or quantity.
"Menos" is a Spanish word meaning "least," but is derived from the Latin "minus," which can also mean "less" or "minus."
The word "minst" in Swedish can also refer to "smallest" or "youngest" in some contexts.
Lleiaf is closely related to the words 'little' and 'small'.

Least in Eastern European Languages

The Belarusian word "мінімум" is derived from the Latin word "minimum" and can also refer to the smallest possible quantity, amount, or value.
"Najmanje" is derived from "manje" (less) and has the connotation of "not even more" or "completely not more".
"Най-малко" also means "at least" when used in the negative form of a statement.
The word "nejméně" comes from the Old Czech word "nejmenší", meaning "the smallest". It also means "the least".
The word "vähemalt" in Estonian is derived from the root "vähe", meaning "little", and the suffix "malt", meaning "at least".
The word "vähiten" is a superlative of the word "vähä," which means "little."
Legkevésbé is a compound word made up of the words 'leg' (most) and 'kevésbé' (less), making it mean 'least' in Hungarian.
The Latvian word "vismazāk" also means "the less" in Polish.
The word "mažiausiai" is derived from the Proto-Baltic word *maz-, meaning "small".
The word "најмалку" is derived from the Old Slavic word "наи", meaning "least" or "not at all".
The word "najmniej" is derived from the Slavic root "naimanj", meaning "the smallest".
Romaniancel mai puţin
The Romanian word "cel mai puţin" has several idiomatic meanings, including "at least" or "as little as."
"Наименее" is the superlative form of the adjective "малый" (small), which is derived from the Proto-Slavic root *malъ (small).
}The word 'најмање' can also mean 'at least' in Serbian.
In some constructions, "najmenej" can also mean "at least".
The word "vsaj" in Slovenian also means "at least".
The word "мінімум" also means "minimum" in English.

Least in South Asian Languages

The word "কমপক্ষে" is derived from the Sanskrit word "कल्पाशे" (kalpaashe), which means "at least" or "the smallest amount."
Gujaratiઓછામાં ઓછું
Hindiकम से कम
The Hindi word "कम से कम" (kam se kam) literally translates to "from less than".
The word "ಕನಿಷ್ಠ" also means "at most" or "not beyond" in Kannada.
The word 'kurainjattu' is also used to mean both 'at least' and 'the most' in Malayalam.
किमान (kimān) is also a colloquial term used to express a small or insignificant amount of something.
Nepaliकम से कम
The word "कम से कम" can also mean "at the lowest" or "at the minimum".
Punjabiਘੱਟੋ ਘੱਟ
Sinhala (Sinhalese)අවම
The word "අවම" also means "minimum", "lowest" and "least possible" in Sinhala.
குறைந்தது is used to refer to the minimum of a set or the smallest in a particular situation.
The word "కనీసం" can also mean "base" or "foundation".
Urduکم سے کم
The term "کم سے کم" is used not only as "least" but also as the equivalent of "at minimum" in English.

Least in East Asian Languages

Chinese (Simplified)最小
最小 (zuìxiǎo) is composed of 最 (zuì, most) and 小 (xiǎo, small) and means 'smallest' or 'minimal'.
Chinese (Traditional)最小
最小 shares the same etymology as 惗 or 渺, meaning 'small' and 'insignificant'
Originally meant 'at least'; also used today as an intensifier ('very') or a tag question ('don't you think?').
Korean가장 작은
The Korean word "가장 작은" (least) was originally used to describe the smallest unit of length in Korea, the "점" (dot).
Mongolianхамгийн бага
Myanmar (Burmese)အနည်းဆုံး

Least in South East Asian Languages

Indonesianpaling sedikit
The Indonesian word "paling sedikit" comes from the Dutch phrase "het minste", which also means "the least".
Javanesepaling ora
"Paling ora" is also an expression meaning "nothing more than" or "just" in Javanese.
Malaypaling tidak
The word "paling tidak" can also mean "at the very least" or "anyway" in certain contexts.
The Thai word 'น้อยที่สุด' (least) finds its origin in the Pali and Sanskrit words 'ni + ūna', meaning 'not lacking'.
Vietnameseít nhất
In the Sino-Vietnamese system, 'ít nhất' can also mean 'at least', due to the influence of the Chinese word '至少' with the same meaning.
Filipino (Tagalog)hindi bababa sa

Least in Central Asian Languages

Azerbaijaniən az
The word "ən az" is a compound word consisting of "ən" (most) and "az" (little), but in modern Azerbaijani it means the opposite of "ən". It is equivalent to "very little" in meaning.
Kazakhең аз
Ең аз is the phonetic spelling of the English word "least" in the Kazakh Cyrillic alphabet
Kyrgyzэң аз
The word "эң аз" also means "minimum" or "smallest" in Kyrgyz.
" камтарин" may also mean "the most" "least" "less" in Tajik.
Turkmeniň bolmanda
"Kamida" is also used in Uzbek to mean "the most" or "the best" in certain contexts, such as expressing admiration or praise.
Uyghurھېچ بولمىغاندا

Least in Pacific Languages

Hawaiianmea liʻiliʻi loa
The word "mea liʻiliʻi loa" in Hawaiian can also mean "the least amount of something" or "the smallest part of something".
Maoriiti rawa
The word "iti rawa" can also mean "very small" or "nearly nothing".
The word "laʻititi" can also mean "small" or "little" and is related to the word "laʻititi" (small, young).
Tagalog (Filipino)pinakamaliit
The word "pinakamaliit" in Tagalog can also mean "most humble" or "most insignificant".

Least in American Indigenous Languages


Least in International Languages

Esperanto's "malplej" ultimately derives from the Latin "minus" via Old French and English, while also bearing a passing resemblance to the English "maple".

Least in Others Languages

The Greek word "ελάχιστα" is used in the plural to mean "the very smallest amount" and is related to the word "ελάσσων", which means "smaller."
Hmongtsawg kawg
The noun "tsawg kawg" also means "the youngest child of a family," which is why it's commonly used to refer to the baby of a family or group.
The Kurdish word "kêmtirî" is derived from the Persian word "kamtar", which means "humble" or "modest".
Turkishen az
The word "en az" in Turkish derives from the Arabic phrase "anna aqs," meaning "the least quantity."}
Ubuncinci also means "the little one" in Xhosa.
The Yiddish word "מינדסטער" can also mean "smallest" or "youngest", and is derived from the German word "mindest".
The Zulu word "okungenani" not only means "least" but also refers to the "little finger or toe"
Assameseসবাতোকৈ কম
Bhojpuriकम से कम
Dhivehiއެންމެ ކުޑަމިނުން
Filipino (Tagalog)hindi bababa sa
Kurdish (Sorani)کەمترین
Maithiliसब सं अल्प
Meiteilon (Manipuri)ꯌꯥꯝꯗ꯭ꯔꯕꯗ
Mizotlem ber
Oromohunda caalaa xiqqaa
Odia (Oriya)ସର୍ବନିମ୍ନ
Tatarким дигәндә

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