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Oracle/PLSQL: LEAST Function

Learn 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 Oracle/PLSQL LEAST function is:

LEAST( expr1, expr2, ... expr_n )

Parameters or Arguments

expr1, expr2, . expr_n are expressions that are evaluated by the LEAST function.


  • 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) would return 2
LEAST('2', '5', '12', '3') would return '12'
LEAST('apples', 'oranges', 'bananas') would return 'apples'
LEAST('apples', 'applis', 'applas') would return 'applas'
LEAST('apples', 'applis', 'applas', null) would return NULL