- not many but more than one: Few artists live luxuriously.
- (used with a plural verb) a small number or amount: Send me a few.
- the few, a special, limited number; the minority: That music appeals to the few.
- (used with a plural verb) a small number of persons or things: A dozen people volunteered, but few have shown up.
- few and far between, at widely separated intervals; infrequent: In Nevada the towns are few and far between.
- quite a few, a fairly large number; many: There were quite a few interesting things to do.
Origin of few
Examples from the Web for few
A few days later, Bush replied, “We will uphold the law in Florida.”
Like many Americans—but few Republican presidential candidates—the former Florida governor has evolved on the issue.
Sputtering, I manage a few “hut-hut-huts” with the other students.How Taryn Toomey’s ‘The Class’ Became New York’s Latest Fitness Craze
January 9, 2015
We do see that a few European countries have them on the books: Germany, Poland, Italy, Ireland, a couple more.In Defense of Blasphemy
January 9, 2015
So it might be me projecting my desires onto Archer to want to just get away from work for a few weeks.‘Archer’ Creator Adam Reed Spills Season 6 Secrets, From Surreal Plotlines to Life Post-ISIS
January 8, 2015
Here we see but a few of the last links, and those imperfectly.
They were both silent for a few moments; and Eudora's countenance was troubled.
So small was it that to have gone a few feet to either side would have been to miss it.
Or, if I'd only got tied up in some way for a few weeks—something I could tide over.
I can get along for a few hours, and then I'll have a doctor look at it.Brave and Bold
- a small number of; hardly anyfew men are so cruel
- (as pronoun; functioning as plural)many are called but few are chosen
- (preceded by a)
- a small number ofa few drinks
- (as pronoun; functioning as plural)a few of you
- a good few informal several
- few and far between
- at great intervals; widely spaced
- not abundant; scarce
- have a few or have a few too many to consume several (or too many) alcoholic drinks
- not a few or quite a few informal several
- the few a small number of people considered as a classthe few who fell at Thermopylae Compare many (def. 4)
Word Origin and History for few
Old English feawe (plural; contracted to fea) "few, seldom, even a little," from Proto-Germanic *faw-, from PIE root *pau- (1) "few, little" (cf. Latin paucus "few, little," paullus "little," parvus "little, small," pauper "poor;" Greek pauros "few, little," pais (genitive paidos) "child;" Latin puer "child, boy," pullus "young animal;" Oscan puklu "child;" Sanskrit potah "a young animal," putrah "son;" Old English fola "young horse;" Old Norse fylja "young female horse;" Old Church Slavonic puta "bird;" Lithuanian putytis "young animal, young bird"). Always plural in Old English.
Phrase few and far between attested from 1660s. Unusual ironic use in quite a few "many" (1883), earlier a good few (1828). The noun is late 12c., fewe, from the adjective.
Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few. [Winston Churchill, 1940]