Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Amounting to or consisting of a small number.
  • adjective Being more than one but indefinitely small in number.
  • noun An indefinitely small number of persons or things.
  • noun An exclusive or limited number.
  • pronoun A small number of persons or things.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Not many; a small number; only a small number.
  • noun Not many; only a small number (of persons or things): in this use properly an adjective, used elliptically as a plural noun, and not preceded by the article.
  • noun A small number; a minority: in this sense preceded by the article a (originally in the plural) or the, with or without a noun following, the noun, if used, expressing the whole of which the few are taken, and being in the partitive genitive, with or without the preposition of: as, a few, or a few members, or a few of the members, dissented.
  • noun A small quantity or portion; a little: followed by a noun (without of) in a construction similar to def. 2 and to that of little, n.
  • noun See II., 3.
  • noun Adv. phr. Somewhat; to some slight extent: often used ironically for a good deal.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective Not many; small, limited, or confined in number; -- indicating a small portion of units or individuals constituting a whole; often, by ellipsis of a noun, a few people.
  • adjective a small number.
  • adjective in a few words; briefly.
  • adjective not few; more than a few; many.
  • adjective the minority; -- opposed to the many or the majority.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • determiner preceded by another determiner An indefinite, but usually small, number of.
  • determiner used alone Not many; a small (in comparison with another number stated or implied) but somewhat indefinite number of.
  • determiner meteorology, of clouds (US?) Obscuring one eighth to two eighths of the sky.
  • determiner meteorology, of rainfall with regard to a location (US?) Having a 10 percent chance of measurable precipitation (0.01 inch); used interchangeably with isolated.
  • pronoun Few people, few things.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adjective a quantifier that can be used with count nouns and is often preceded by `a'; a small but indefinite number
  • noun a small elite group

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English fewe, from Old English fēawe; see pau- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English fewe ("few"), from Old English fēawa, fēawe, fēa ("few"), from Proto-Germanic *fawaz (“few”), from Proto-Indo-European *ph₁w- (“few, small”). Cognate with Old Saxon  ("few"), Old High German fao, fō ("few, little"), Old Norse fár ("few"), Gothic 𐍆𐌰𐍅𐌰𐌹 (fawai, "few"), Latin paucus ("little, few"). More at poor.

Examples

Comments

New comments are temporarily disabled while we update our database.