Kojève first life was transformed abruptly in 1939 when he finished his reading of the Phenomenology and the Germans almost simultaneously invaded Czechoslovakia. The irony was lost on no one, least of all Kojève, who would often joke about the coincidence years later.

Can you provide me the exact explanation of the phrase "The irony was lost on no one, least of all Kojève". I know that when something "is not lost on you", it means you are able to understand it. But I do not understand the part "least of all Kojève". Does it mean that at least Kojève was the one that found irony in the coincidence?

  • 11
    It means that the irony was lost least of all on Kojève--that Kojève recognized the irony more clearly than anybody else. Feb 18, 2016 at 14:31

2 Answers 2


"Least of all" is an idiom used with a negative statement meaning, of all those that we have just mentioned, this one meets the condition less than any of the others. i.e. the condition is negative, so this one is the most important or significant.

"We can't afford to lose any member of this team, least of all Smith." We can't afford to lose any member of the team, but the member that we could least afford to lose is Smith. that is, Smith is the most valuable member of the team.

It doesn't have to be a person. "No planet in the Solar System has sufficient mass to produce such an effect, least of all Mercury." Mercury has even less mass than most or all of the others.

Note this only makes sense with a negative statement. You wouldn't say, "We are all excited about this, least of all Bob." Because that would presumably mean that Bob was less excited than anyone else. If you want to emphasize one example on a positive, you say "especially". "We are all excited about this, especially Bob."

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    You could also use the same construct and say "most of all Bob" in your positive example, though "especially" is more commonly used in those situations.
    – neontapir
    Feb 18, 2016 at 21:31
  • @neontapir True. Or "Bob in particular", probably other phrasings.
    – Jay
    Feb 19, 2016 at 5:53

'Least of all on Kojeve' just means that he best understood the irony.'Least of all' paired with 'lost on no one' is a double negative, so another way of looking at the sentence could be 'Everyone understood the irony, and Kojeve understood it the most of all'.

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