- 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
Related Words for fewestpetty, minority, less, scanty, slight, lean, middling, short, minute, scattering, minor, trifling, exiguous, imperceptible, inconsequential, infrequent, insufficient, meager, negligible, occasional
Examples from the Web for fewest
Contemporary Examples of fewest
Notably, the states with the fewest of these professionals also have the worst breastfeeding outcomes.Why Poor Mothers Don’t Breastfeed
July 31, 2014
This was the fifth Super Bowl in which a team allowing the fewest points during the season opposed a team scoring the most points.The Impossible Super Bowl Score: First 43-8 Football Game in a Century
February 3, 2014
And the Seattle Seahawks led the league in fewest yards allowed per game, 273.6, and average points given up per game, 14.4.
In that same span the team that allowed the fewest points in the league has made to the big game 15 times and won 12.
It requires the mental discipline to compress thoughts into the fewest possible words.David Frost and the Art of the Interview
September 7, 2013
Historical Examples of fewest
But I will reckon them as merely equal to those of the state which has the fewest.
And then I told him the purport of the letters in the fewest words possible.Against Odds
Lawrence L. Lynch
Winchester lay the fewest of miles away, but somewhere there was legerdemain.The Long Roll
I told her, in the fewest possible words, for it might be that our time was brief.The Pirate of Panama
William MacLeod Raine
But now tell me the worst, and let that be in the fewest words possible.'The Uncollected Writings of Thomas de Quincey, Vol. 2
Thomas de Quincey
- 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 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]
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)