In the book Concepts of space by Max Jammer, page 129, I see this sentence:

Indeed, no less a man then Leonhard Euler grappled with the problem for more than thirty years.

I want to learn what does "no less a man then" means here.


1 Answer 1


The phrase should be "No less a man than" (not then). It means the same as "A man as great / important / capable as..." It is more politically correct to say "No less a person than".

The phrase is being used to emphasize how difficult the problem was. It was so difficult that it took 30 years of working on it for a mathematician as great as Euler (one of the cleverest mathematicians in history) to solve it. (Or did he finally give up?!)

  • 3
    "Then" must by a typographical error. The phrase is a comparison : "No more than... no less than..." Yes the phrase is standard English. A little old-fashioned but standard all the same. Sep 8, 2016 at 18:20

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