- of a smaller number: fewer words and more action.
- (used with a plural verb) a smaller number: Fewer have come than we hoped.
Origin of fewer
- 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 fewer
This was nine fewer than what he needed just two years ago when 426 members of the House voted.Democrats Accidentally Save Boehner From Republican Coup
Ben Jacobs, Jackie Kucinich
January 6, 2015
That means that fewer and fewer everyday Americans are choosing to contribute to campaigns.The 100 Rich People Who Run America
January 5, 2015
The more resources and education society becomes equipped with, the fewer stories like yours will surface.Dear Leelah, We Will Fight On For You: A Letter to a Dead Trans Teen
January 1, 2015
Fewer women are shackled during labor and delivery (PDF), though this still occurs.The GOP’s Hidden Ban on Prison Abortions
December 13, 2014
The demonstrations have been largely peaceful, with fewer arrests and clashes with police than in other cities.Eric Garner Protesters Have a Direct Line to City Hall
December 11, 2014
No fewer than 12,000 persons had perished in the sandjak of Philippopolis!The Grand Old Man
Richard B. Cook
The fewer the marriageable girls, the higher their market value.
There could not be fewer than five hundred people, and they were dancing like five thousand demons.
To this effect, in as few or fewer words, the Public Prosecutor.
And the greater the success, the fewer are the signs of the labour expended.A Dish Of Orts
- 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 fewer
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]
Idioms and Phrases with fewer
In addition to the idioms beginning with few
- few and far between
- few bricks shy of a load
- few words
- a few
- bricks shy of a load, (a few)
- of few words
- precious few
- quite a bit (few)