few [ fju ] (comparative fewer; superlative fewest) function word, quantifier ***
Few can be used in the following ways:
as a determiner (followed by a plural noun):
Few people live there now.
There were a few animals in the barn.
as a pronoun:
Many have tried, but few have succeeded.
There were a few who refused to go. (followed by of ):
A few of the visitors left early.
Few of the pictures are any good.
The few can be used as a noun phrase:
Private schools are for the privileged few.
Few can be used as an adjective:
Her few decent clothes were now dirty.
1. ) some, but not many:
a few: Outside there are only a few streetlights.
I spoke with a few friends about it.
There were a few who failed the test.
few of: A few of the plates were chipped.
a few more: I'm not sure how many I'll need, so give me a few more.
the first/last few: I've only read the first few pages of the book.
the past/next few: During the past few months, the police have interviewed over 200 people.
Everything is expected to change in the next few years.
every few: Clean the cage every few days.
2. ) => NOTE used for emphasizing that a number of people or things is very small, especially when the number is smaller than you would like or expect:
Few managers attend the meetings.
Bush won the election by fewer than 3000 votes.
The pictures were taken at one of his few public appearances.
She approached several people, but few were interested.
the car with the fewest mechanical problems
few of: Few of the retail firms are offering a home delivery service.
the few: Poe and his colleagues are among the few to have tackled this question.
The few times he did show up, he was late.
precious few (=a very small number): No one wants to read about important issues, and precious few want to write about them.
so few: Why are there so few women in the Senate?
too few: Too much money chasing too few goods causes inflation.
very few: We get very few complaints about racial discrimination.
be few: Their victories were few.
as few as
used before a number for emphasizing that it is smaller than you might expect:
As few as 10% of the patients have benefited from the treatment.
few and far between
not happening very often or not existing in many places:
Opportunities for promotion are few and far between.
have had a few (too many) INFORMAL
to be drunk
no fewer than
used before a number to emphasize that it is larger that you might expect:
His library contains no fewer than 800 Latin and Greek volumes.
quite a few
a fairly large number of people or things:
The letter arrived quite a few days ago.
the (privileged) few
a small set of people who have more money, opportunities, or advantages than other people:
A government should serve the many, not the few.
to name/mention but a few
used after mentioning a small number of people or things as examples of a larger group:
We saw designs by Karl Lagerfeld, Yves Saint Laurent, and Sonia Rykiel, to name but a few.

Usage of the words and phrases in modern English. 2013.

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  • few — W1S1 [fju:] determiner, pron, adj comparative fewer superlative fewest [: Old English; Origin: feawa] 1.) [no comparative] a small number of things or people a few ▪ I have to buy a few things at the supermarket. ▪ Pam called to say she s going… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Few — (f[=u]), a. [Compar. {Fewer} (f[=u] [ e]r); superl. {Fewest}.] [OE. fewe, feawe, AS. fe[ a], pl. fe[ a]we; akin to OS. f[=a]h, OHG. f[=o] fao, Icel. f[=a]r, Sw. f[*a], pl., Dan. faa, pl., Goth. faus, L. paucus, cf. Gr. pay^ros. Cf. {Paucity}.]… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • few — ► DETERMINER , PRONOUN , & ADJECTIVE 1) (a few) a small number of. 2) not many. ► NOUN (the few) ▪ a select minority. ● few and far between Cf. ↑few and far between …   English terms dictionary

  • few — (adj.) O.E. feawe (plural; contracted to fea) few, seldom, even a little, from P.Gmc. *faw , from PIE root *pau few, little (Cf. L. paucus few, little, paullus little, parvus little, small, pauper poor; Gk. pauros …   Etymology dictionary

  • few — [fyo͞o] adj. [ME fewe < OE feawe, feawa, pl., akin to OFris fē, Goth fawai, pl. < IE base * pōu , small, little > L paucus, Gr pauros, little] not many; a small number of [few seats were left, a few people came] pron. not many; a small… …   English World dictionary

  • FEW — bezeichnet einen 1/8 bis 2/8 bewölkten Himmel, siehe Bewölkung#Einteilung Französisches Etymologisches Wörterbuch Freiburgische Elektrizitätswerke, siehe Groupe E Frostigs Entwicklungstest der visuellen Wahrnehmung, siehe Marianne Frostig das… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • few — 1. Few may be used with or without preceding a, although the sense is slightly different. There were few seats left means there were not many (and is negative in implication), whereas There were a few seats left means that some were still left… …   Modern English usage

  • Few of Us — Directed by Šarūnas Bartas Produced by Paulo Branco Joachim von Mengershausen Written by Šarūnas Bartas Starring …   Wikipedia

  • Few of Us — (lituanien : Mūsų nedaug) est un film lituanien réalisé par Sharunas Bartas, sorti en 1996. Sommaire 1 Synopsis 2 Fiche technique 3 Distribution …   Wikipédia en Français

  • few — [adj] hardly any exiguous, few and far between*, imperceptible, inconsequential, inconsiderable, infrequent, insufficient, lean, less, meager, middling, minor, minority, minute, negligible, not many, not too many*, occasional, paltry, petty,… …   New thesaurus

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