oracle tutorial

Oracle/PLSQL: LEAST Function

This Oracle tutorial explains how to use the Oracle/PLSQL LEAST function with syntax and examples.


The Oracle/PLSQL LEAST function returns the smallest value in a list of expressions.


The syntax for the LEAST function in Oracle/PLSQL is:

LEAST( expr1 [, expr2, ... expr_n] )

Parameters or Arguments

The first expression to evaluate whether it is the smallest.
expr2, ... expr_n
Optional. Additional expressions that are to be evaluated.


  • If the datatypes of the expressions are different, all expressions will be converted to whatever datatype expr1 is.
  • If the comparison is based on a character comparison, one character is considered smaller than another if it has a lower character set value.
  • Having a NULL value in one of the expressions will return NULL as the least value.

Applies To

The LEAST function can be used in the following versions of Oracle/PLSQL:

  • Oracle 12c, Oracle 11g, Oracle 10g, Oracle 9i, Oracle 8i


Let's look at some Oracle LEAST function examples and explore how to use the LEAST function in Oracle/PLSQL.

For example:

LEAST(2, 5, 12, 3)
Result: 2

LEAST('2', '5', '12', '3')
Result: '12'

LEAST('apples', 'oranges', 'bananas')
Result: 'apples'

LEAST('apples', 'applis', 'applas')
Result: 'applas'

LEAST('apples', 'applis', 'applas', null)
Result: NULL