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fewer less

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WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2015
few /fyu/USA pronunciation   adj., -er, -est, n., pron. 

adj. [before a plural noun]
  1. not many but more than one;
    scarcely any;
    hardly any:Few artists live luxuriously.
  2. some; several[+ ~]A few artists did manage to live luxuriously.

n. [plural;
used with a plural verb]
  1. a small number or amount[+ ~]Did everyone go home? No, a few were still waiting.
  2. the few, a special, limited number; the minority:a concert that appeals to the few.

pron. [plural]
  1. a small number of persons or things:Many are called, but few are chosen.
  1. Idiomsfew and far between, placed at widely separated intervals; not frequent or plentiful:Chances like this are few and far between.
  2. Idiomsquite a few, [before a plural noun] a fairly large number of;
    many:He had quite a few girlfriends.

When few is used with a noun, the noun is plural:few speakers; a few speakers;
quite a few speakers.
Note also the slight difference in meaning between few and a few. When few is used without a the meaning is "a small amount of;
not as many as expected'':Few learners can hope to speak Chinese perfectly.When a few is used, the meaning is more positive: "some, but not many'':A few learners can hope to speak Chinese perfectly.See little. In many grammar books, fewer and less are opposed. fewer should be used with plural count nouns:fewer books,while less is only to be used with noncount nouns:less money.In informal style, many speakers use less before plural nouns:less books,but never use fewer before noncount nouns; no one would say:fewer money.

WordReference Random House Unabridged Dictionary of American English © 2015
few  (fyo̅o̅), 
adj., -er, -est, n., pron. 

  1. not many but more than one:Few artists live luxuriously.
  2. Idiomsfew and far between, at widely separated intervals; infrequent:In Nevada the towns are few and far between.

  1. (used with a pl. v.) a small number or amount:Send me a few.
  2. Idiomsquite a few, a fairly large number; many:There were quite a few interesting things to do.
  3. the few, a special, limited number;
    the minority:That music appeals to the few.

  1. (used with a pl. v.) a small number of persons or things:A dozen people volunteered, but few have shown up.
Etymology:bef. 900;
Middle English fewe, Old English fēawe;
cognate with Gothic fawai;
akin to Latin paucus few, paulus little, pauper poor, Greek paûros little, few

Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers::

few /fjuː/ determiner
  1. a small number of; hardly any: few men are so cruel
  2. (as pronoun; functioning as plural): many are called but few are chosen
  3. (preceded by a) a small number of: a few drinks
  4. (as pronoun; functioning as plural): a few of you
  5. a good fewinformal several
  6. few and far betweenat great intervals; widely spaced
  7. not abundant; scarce
  8. not a few, quite a fewinformal several
  1. the fewa small number of people considered as a class: the few who fell at Thermopylae
Etymology: Old English fēawa; related to Old High German fao little, Old Norse fār little, silent

ˈfewness n USAGE

'fewer less' also found in these entries:

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