Meaning of FEW in English

FEW

/ fjuː; NAmE / determiner , adjective , pronoun

■ determiner , adjective ( fewer , few·est )

1.

used with plural nouns and a plural verb to mean 'not many' :

Few people understand the difference.

There seem to be fewer tourists around this year.

Very few students learn Latin now.

2.

(usually a few ) used with plural nouns and a plural verb to mean 'a small number', 'some' :

We've had a few replies.

I need a few things from the store.

Quite a few people are going to arrive early.

I try to visit my parents every few weeks .

IDIOMS

- few and far between

■ pronoun

1.

not many people, things or places :

Very few of his books are worth reading.

You can pass with as few as 25 points.

( formal )

Few will argue with this conclusion.

2.

a few a small number of people, things or places; some :

I recognized a few of the other people.

I've seen most of his movies. Only a few are as good as his first one.

Could you give me a few more details?

3.

fewer not as many as :

Fewer than 20 students passed all the exams.

There are no fewer than 100 different species in the area.

HELP NOTE : Look at the note at less .

4.

the few used with a plural verb to mean 'a small group of people' :

Real power belongs to the few.

She was one of the chosen few (= the small group with special rights) .

IDIOMS

- quite a few

- have had a few

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WORD ORIGIN

Old English fēawe , fēawa , of Germanic origin; related to Old High German fao , from an Indo-European root shared by Latin paucus and Greek pauros small.

Oxford Advanced Learner's English Dictionary.      Оксфордский английский словарь для изучающик язык на продвинутом уровне.