at least

1) not less than a particular amount or number, and possibly more

Mr Gray will remain the director for three years at least.

The disease killed at least 120 people in England last year.

We are expecting to at least double our money.

at the very least (= not less than and probably much more than):

The journey will take a year, at the very least.

2) even if nothing else happens or is true

At least no one can accuse me of hiding the truth.

You might at least have waited for me.

We have reached an agreement that at least gives the company a chance to survive.

at the very least:

At the very least the player is guilty of violent behaviour.

3) used when mentioning an advantage that exists in spite of the problem or disadvantage that you have just mentioned

A two per cent pay rise is not very much, but at least it's better than nothing.

You lost, but at least you can say you tried.

The work is difficult, but at least the pay is good.

4) used when you are saying something that changes or limits what you have just said

The election will mean the end, or at least the beginning of the end, of the present system.

No one saw anything, or at least they're not talking about it if they did.


English dictionary. 2014.

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