What difference, if any, is there between "lesser-known" and "less-known"? Both "lesser" and "less" are adverbials there. I suspect "lesser-known" can be used only attributively. Any other differences?

I'd appreciate your help.

  • I think lesser-known is more likely to be used when there isn't a clear comparand. And no, it can also be used predicatively. Feel free to flag this comment for deletion if someone actually answers your question.
    – user3395
    Commented Jun 3, 2019 at 6:57

1 Answer 1


Gweneth Jones is one of the lesser-known writers of mystery fiction. She is certainly less known than Tom Smith, who is becoming rather popular for a mid-list author.

"lesser known" tends to be used to compare with a sort of imaginary "standard' or "average" figure in whatever field is being written of. "Less known" (or much more often less well-known") is normally used to compare two (or more) specific people or things.

However, these are not absolute rules, and some will use "lesser known" to compare two specific things.

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