adj. & n.
--adj. not many (few doctors smoke; visitors are few).
--n. (as pl.)
1. (prec. by a) some but not many (a few words should be added; a few of his friends were there).
2 a small number, not many (many are called but few are chosen).
3 (prec. by the) a the minority. b the elect.
4 (the Few) colloq. the RAF pilots who took part in the Battle of Britain.
Phrases and idioms:
every few once in every small group of (every few days). few and far between scarce. a good few colloq. a fairly large number. have a few colloq. take several alcoholic drinks. no fewer than as many as (a specified number). not a few a considerable number. some few some but not at all many.
Etymology: OE feawe, feawa f. Gmc