few Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary Cambridge dictionaries logo

Meaning of “few” in the English Dictionary

"few" in British English

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fewdeterminer, pronoun

uk   us   /fjuː/
  • few determiner, pronoun (SOME)

a few

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A2 some, or a ​smallnumber of something: I need to get a few things in ​town. There are a few ​slices of ​cakeleft over from the ​party. We've been having a few ​problems with the new ​computer. If you can't ​fit all the ​bags in ​yourcar, I can take a few in mine. "How many ​potatoes do you ​want?" "Oh, just a few, ​please." Note: A few is used with countable nouns. Compare small.
A2 used in ​expressions such as "​quite a few" to ​mean "​quite a ​largenumber": I ​knowquite a few ​people who have had the same ​problem. Lots of ​people at the ​club are under 20, but there are ​quite a few who aren't.

fewdeterminer, pronoun, noun, adjective

uk   us   /fjuː/
  • few determiner, pronoun, noun, adjective (NOT MANY)

B1 a ​smallnumber or not many: It was ​embarrassing how few ​peopleattended the ​party. He is among the few ​people I can ​trust. Very few ​people can ​afford to ​pay those ​prices. We ​leave for France in a few ​days. Few of the ​children can ​read or write ​yet. Few things in this ​world give me more ​pleasure than a ​longbath. We get few ​complaints. According to the ​survey, as few as ten ​percent of us are ​happy with ​ourjobs. The ​benefits of the ​plannedchanges are few. fewer B1 a ​smallernumber: Fewer ​peoplesmoke these ​days than used to. We ​receivedfar fewer ​complaints than ​expected. Fewer than 3,500 ​tigers are ​left in the ​wild today. Note: Few is used with countable nouns.few and far between C2 not ​happening or ​existing very often: Apartments that are both ​comfortable and ​reasonablypriced are few and ​far between.

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Grammar
(Definition of few from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"few" in American English

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fewadjective, pronoun, noun

 us   /fju/
a ​smallnumber, not many, or not enough (of something): He is one of the few (​people) I can ​trust to ​keep a ​secret.a few A few ​means a ​smallnumber of: I’m going to the ​supermarket to get a few things. We’ve been having a few ​problems with the new ​computer. "How many ​tomatoes do we need?" "Just a few."
(Definition of few from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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