Definition of few in English:

few

Syllabification: few
Pronunciation: /fyo͞o
 
/

adjective& pronoun

1 (a few) A small number of: [as adjective]: may I ask a few questions? [as pronoun]: I will recount a few of the stories told me many believe it but only a few are prepared to say
More example sentences
  • Now returned to her, we hoped it would help answer a few questions about the old boy.
  • Well buy a few of them and stick your chocolate in that, it won't get warmer or go dead cold.
  • Not as simple or elegant as the original, but a few of the additions are pretty good.
2Used to emphasize how small a number of people or things is: [as adjective]: he had few friends [as pronoun]: few thought to challenge these assumptions very few of the titles have any literary merit one of the few who survived [comparative]: a population of fewer than two million [as adjective]: sewing was one of her few pleasures [superlative]: ask which products have the fewest complaints
More example sentences
  • Sport is full of unusual people of high ability, but very few of them are film stars.
  • His education, he told me, was unlikely to get him a decent job and he had few friends.
  • Try to be nice about it though and offer them a can of beer or you will make few friends.

noun

(as plural noun the few) Back to top  
The minority of people; the elect: a world that increasingly belongs to the few
More example sentences
  • We should concentrate on peace and health for all before we embark on glory for the few.
  • Emancipation is not a right that can be curtailed in favour of the interests of the few.
  • The world belongs to the few, not to the many, and least of all to all.

Origin

Old English fēawe, fēawa; from an Indo-European root shared by Latin paucus and Greek pauros 'small'.

Usage

Fewer versus less: strictly speaking, the rule is that fewer, the comparative form of few, is used with words denoting people or countable things ( fewer members; fewer books; fewer than ten contestants). Less, on the other hand, is used with mass nouns, denoting things that cannot be counted ( less money; less music). In addition, less is normally used with numbers ( less than 10,000) and with expressions of measurement or time ( less than two weeks; less than four miles away). But to use less with count nouns, as in less people or less words, is incorrect in standard English.

Phrases

every few

Once in every small group of (typically units of time): she visits every few weeks
More example sentences
  • But forty or so of you who visit at least once every few days think I'm doing something right.
  • With a bulk shop online once every few weeks you can top up on all basic foodstuffs and household items.
  • The emphasis was moving away from local struggles to big protests once every few months.

few and far between

Scarce; infrequent: my inspired moments are few and far between
More example sentences
  • In a world befogged by superficiality, moments of clarity are few and far between.
  • Television ads are few and far between; the yard signs and badges are more scarce.
  • Make it easy on yourself - enjoy the magic moments in life - they are too few and far between.

a good few

British A fairly large number of: it had been around for a good few years
More example sentences
  • While a good few of those ten happened on more than a one-off occasion, one every twelve months does seem rather spartan.
  • I'm not ready for the full team but that makes me no different to a good few of the younger strikers who have been making the squads.
  • Naturally a good few of the questions are rather risqué, which made for some interesting moments.

have a few

informal Drink enough alcohol to be slightly drunk: I tend to keep my mouth shut, unless I’ve had a few
More example sentences
  • Puff has no more effect on you than alcohol and certainly does not turn you violent when you have had a few like booze.
  • He's a laugh, just a bit moody when he's had a few.
  • Oh well, no harm done, he's a happy loving guy when he's had a few.

no fewer than

Used to emphasize a surprisingly large number: there are no fewer than seventy different brand names
More example sentences
  • Built by car manufacturer Ford, the car, worth half a million pounds, was surrounded by no fewer than four security guards.
  • Eventually, he was supplying designs to no fewer than 50 manufacturers.
  • In North America, when a C-section is performed, no fewer than four doctors are present in the room.

not a few

A considerable number: his fiction has caused not a few readers to see red
More example sentences
  • I must now take responsibility for enraging my party leader, alienating the people of a great city, and incurring the anger of not a few of The Spectator's readers.
  • If rakhi day brings happiness to many men in town, it also brings disappointment to not a few, especially on the city's campuses.
  • John knew every haulage owner and driver as well as registration numbers and make of lorries in Connacht and not a few from outside as well.

quite a few

A fairly large number: quite a few people can do it
More example sentences
  • You need quite a few to make the juice for this jelly, and it is much easier to do if you have a blender or food processor.
  • It means that I have to buy everybody presents, and not get anything back from quite a few.
  • I explained quite a few more times but eventually he just shut his window and took no notice.

some few

Some but not many: some few people are born without any sense of time
More example sentences
  • This is because some few hundred vegetable, fruit and grocery vendors set up shop here from the wee hours (as they have been doing for over two decades) and by residents' consensus, the leftover wares of the day are left behind.
  • Remember how long the regime for paying for hospital treatment lasted when it affected the whole population - some few months - until everyone knew someone that had been asked to pay and decided that it was not acceptable.
  • I see no sign of let up - some few deserters - plenty tired of war, but the masses determined to fight it out.

Definition of few in:

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Pronunciation: dəˈmôrəˌlīz
verb
cause (someone) to lose confidence or hope; dispirit