, but not related to it. Lesser (mid-15c.) is a double comparative, "a barbarous corruption of less, formed by the vulgar from the habit of terminating comparatives in -er." [Johnson].
the suffix meaning "lacking" is from O.E. -leas, from leas "free (from), devoid (of), false, feigned," from P.Gmc. *lausaz (cf. Du. -loos, Ger. -los "less," O.N. lauss "loose, free, vacant, dissolute," M.Du. los, Ger. los "loose, free," Goth. laus "empty, vain"). Related to loose
O.E. lytel (related to lyt "little, few," from P.Gmc. *luti), from W.Gmc. *lutila- (cf. Du. luttel, O.H.G. luzzil, Ger. lützel, Goth. leitils), from PIE *leud- "small." "Often synonymous with small, but capable of emotional implications which small is not" [OED]. Phrase the little woman "wife" attested
from 1795. Little people "the faeries" is from 1726; as "children," it is attested from 1752; as "ordinary people" it is attested from 1827. Little Neck clams (1884) are so called for Little Neck, Long Island, a "neck" of land on the island's North Shore. Little by little is from late 15c. (litylle be litille).