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Oxford Dictionary gives this definition about "leftmost"

Farthest to the left.

I guess "to" means "toward" there, something like the red arrow shown below.

enter image description here

I guess "farthest" might be the superlative of "far". In the direction of left, the red line is farther than the green one. In all three lines, the blue one is

the farthest line

Typically, there would be a "the" when using superlative. Is my understanding right? If yes, why does Oxford Dictionary omit the "the" in that definition I quoted at the beginning of this post?

Is there some difference in meaning? When would I use which?

Could someone please give a hint? Thanks in advance.

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Typically, there would be a "the" when using superlative.

Typically, yes, but not always.

A superlative is still an adjective, and it's possible to use it without an article, much like any other adjective. For example, you can write "Click on whichever circle is farthest to the left."

Just like any adjective, you can form a noun phrase using an article, a superlative, and a noun. For example, you can also write "Click on whichever circle is the farthest circle to the left."

(You can also make a noun phrase without a noun; we could have written just "the farthest" instead of "the farthest circle".)

The writer of that dictionary entry simply chose to write it as an adjective phrase instead of as a noun phrase.

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  • Thank you. "Farthest to the left" is an adjective phrase while "the farthest to the left" is a noun phrase, right?
    – WXJ96163
    Apr 1, 2020 at 2:12
  • @WXJ96163 Yep, exactly. Apr 1, 2020 at 2:24
  • Thank you! Is there some difference in meaning? When would I use which?
    – WXJ96163
    Apr 1, 2020 at 3:00
  • @WXJ96163 I'd say that they mean exactly the same thing, and the choice is arbitrary. The noun phrase version, with "the", is probably more common. Apr 1, 2020 at 3:13

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