Quick answer
"Least" is a pronoun which is often translated as "lo menos", and "lesser" is an adjective which is often translated as "menor". Learn more about the difference between "least" and "lesser" below.
A pronoun is a word that stands in for a noun (e.g. she).
1. (the smallest possible)
a. lo menos
Cooking for you is the least I can do to thank you.Cocinar para ti es lo menos que puedo hacer para darte las gracias.
2. (in adverbial phrases)
This refers to an idiomatic word or phrase for which there is no word-for-word translation.
no direct translation
He wasn't in the least affected by the news.No le afectó la noticia ni en lo más mínimo.
You have to read the book twice at the very least to get a grasp of it.Tienes que leer el libro como mínimo dos veces para enterarte de qué va.
An adjective is a word that describes a noun (e.g. the big dog).
3. (superlative)
a. mínimo
You can't achieve the best result by making the least effort.No puedes lograr el mejor resultado haciendo el mínimo esfuerzo.
b. menor
I haven't the least idea how we're going to pull through.No tengo ni la menor idea de cómo vamos a salir de ésta.
c. el más mínimo
The least setback and he goes to pieces.Al más mínimo contratiempo se viene abajo.
An adverb is a word that describes a verb, an adjective, or other adverbs (e.g. to run quickly, very tired).
4. (used with an adjective)
a. menos
My brother is a couch potato; he's the least active person I know.Mi hermano es muy vago, es la persona menos activa que conozco.
5. (superlative)
a. menos
This is the thing I least expected.Es lo que menos me esperaba.
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An adjective is a word that describes a noun (e.g. the big dog).
1. (general)
a. menor
Students' participation will depend, to a greater or lesser extent, on how much free time they have.La participación de los alumnos dependerá, en mayor o menor grado, del tiempo libre del que dispongan.
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