few

Definitions

  • A FEW 'UNCONVERTED MOUNTAINS,' NEAR REDLANDS
    A FEW 'UNCONVERTED MOUNTAINS,' NEAR REDLANDS
  • WordNet 3.6
    • adj few a quantifier that can be used with count nouns and is often preceded by `a'; a small but indefinite number "a few weeks ago","a few more wagons than usual","an invalid's pleasures are few and far between","few roses were still blooming","few women have led troops in battle"
    • n few a small elite group "it was designed for the discriminating few"
    • ***

Additional illustrations & photos:

A rural landscape, with a few houses and farms scattered around A rural landscape, with a few houses and farms scattered around
A few 17th-century handwrought hinges in the Jamestown collection A few 17th-century handwrought hinges in the Jamestown collection
Ornamental plaster was used in a few buildings for enhancing the beauty of both the interior and exterior Ornamental plaster was used in a few buildings for enhancing the beauty of both the interior and exterior
A few fireplace tools unearthed at Jamestown A few fireplace tools unearthed at Jamestown
A few kitchen utensils and accessories excavated at Jamestown: a ladle, brass pan, knife blades, fork, kettle fragments, spout, colander fragments, and pot hooks A few kitchen utensils and accessories excavated at Jamestown: a ladle, brass pan, knife blades, fork, kettle...
A few knives, forks, and spoons unearthed at Jamestown A few knives, forks, and spoons unearthed at Jamestown
A few examples of lead-glazed earthenware made in England during the 17th century. All were unearthed at Jamestown A few examples of lead-glazed earthenware made in England during the 17th century. All were unearthed at Jamestown
A few examples of English delftware in the Jamestown collection A few examples of English delftware in the Jamestown collection

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: When Nylons first went on sale in the United States in 1940, four million pairs were sold in only a few days
    • a Few Not many; small, limited, or confined in number; -- indicating a small portion of units or individuals constituting a whole; often, by ellipsis of a noun, a few people.Few is often used partitively; as, few of them. "Are not my days few ?""Few know and fewer care."
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
  • Interesting fact: Most people know what pH means, but few people know that it stands for pondus hydrogenii which means potential hydrogen and that each unit is a phidron.
    • few Not many; a small number; only a small number.
    • n few Not many; only a small number (of persons or things): in this use properly an adjective, used elliptically as a plural noun, and not preceded by the article.
    • n few A small number; a minority: in this sense preceded by the article a (originally in the plural) or the, with or without a noun following, the noun, if used, expressing the whole of which the few are taken, and being in the partitive genitive, with or without the preposition of: as, a few, or a few members, or a few of the members, dissented.
    • n few A small quantity or portion; a little: followed by a noun (without of) in a construction similar to def. 2 and to that of little, n.
    • n few See II., 3.
    • n few Adv. phr. Somewhat; to some slight extent: often used ironically for a good deal.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: George Washington is the only man whose birthday is a legal holiday in every state of the U.S as of a few years ago.
    • adj Few small in number: not many
    • ***

Quotations

  • Benjamin Franklin
    Benjamin%20Franklin
    “Many foxes grow gray but few grow good.”
  • Francois De La Rochefoucauld
    Francois%20De%20La%20Rochefoucauld
    “Few people know how to be old.”
  • Paul Valery
    Paul%20Valery
    “Serious people have few ideas. People with ideas are never serious.”
  • Friedrich Nietzsche
    Friedrich%20Nietzsche
    “It says nothing against the ripeness of a spirit that it has a few worms.”
  • Proverb
    Proverb
    “That fear may reach all, punish but few.”
  • Robertson Davies
    Robertson%20Davies
    “Few people can see genius in someone who has offended them.”

Idioms

Been around the block a few times - Someone who says they've been around the block a few times is indicating that they have life experience relating to the topic at hand. It is not necessary to discuss the introductory aspects of the topic or give beginner level advice.
***
Few and far between - If things are few and far between, they happen very occasionally.
***
Ruffle a few feathers - If you ruffle a few feathers, you annoy some people when making changes or improvements.
***

Etymology

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
OE. fewe, feawe, AS. feá, pl. feáwe,; akin to OS. fāh, OHG. , fao, Icel. fār, Sw. , pl., Dan. faa, pl., Goth. faus, L. paucus, cf. Gr. pay^ros. Cf. Paucity
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
A.S. féa, pl. féawe; Fr. peu; L. paucus, small.

Usage

In literature:

There are few wild creatures of any sort, for since there are no woods there are few hiding places.
"Conservation Reader" by Harold W. Fairbanks
Can't you give me a few hints?
"The Master Mummer" by E. Phillips Oppenheim
I passed a few days at Turin; and the pleasure of my stay was much enhanced by the society of my friend the Rev.
"Pilgrimage from the Alps to the Tiber" by James Aitken Wylie
Her mother followed in a few years.
"The Cryptogram" by James De Mille
The forts fired a few shots by way of a challenge.
"The Story of the Great War, Volume II (of VIII)" by Various
Only a few survivors of the German attacking column escaped.
"The Story of the Great War, Volume VI (of VIII)" by Various
The man saluted and entered the house, appearing in a few minutes with his chief.
"How I Filmed the War" by Lieut. Geoffrey H. Malins
Few people possess it, it is true, but those few spend most of their time wishing they were fools.
"The Moving Finger" by E. Phillips Oppenheim
Some few rise in the fall.
"Soil Culture" by J. H. Walden
He advised me to remain a few days before proceeding elsewhere.
"A Rebel War Clerk's Diary at the Confederate States Capital" by John Beauchamp Jones
It is penetrated by few roads, and, in 1861, by no means abounded in supplies.
"History of Morgan's Cavalry" by Basil W. Duke
A few glimpses of the meetings we have, and but a few.
"Old and New London" by Walter Thornbury
For last few years has used a few culls for vinegar, and let the rest rot on the ground.
"The Apple" by Various
Dr. Okola will be arriving in a few minutes.
"The Pirates of Shan" by Harold Leland Goodwin
Few, save a few old friends, knew anything of his family or antecedents.
"The Intriguers" by William Le Queux
He was not disappointed, and a few minutes later he had retired to his room in great disgrace.
"With Rifle and Bayonet" by F.S. Brereton
Other adventurers followed him and planted a few settlements, which, however, lasted but a few years.
"The Greater Republic" by Charles Morris
But it is not with Robert Tait that our story has to do; and only a few words need be given to him here and there.
"Mrs. Halliburton's Troubles" by Mrs. Henry Wood
In a few weeks, perhaps in a few days, the ice will hold, and then the thing will be much simpler.
"Through Night to Light" by Friedrich Spielhagen
He supposes it to be only a few thousand miles, requiring but a few weeks' sail.
"The Story of American History" by Albert F. Blaisdell
***

In poetry:

I do not want you to wait,
For few before they die
Have got so far as begin to be great,
The lesson is so high.
"Willie's Question" by George MacDonald
Of all our schoolboy friends but few
Alas! can now be found,
Not many but myself and you
Are still above the ground.
"Dear Friends And Neighbors" by David John Scott
In the Isle of unending summer,
Under the stainless blue,
Lie in their patient slumber,
The Saint and his faithful few.
"Brandan's Isle" by Cicely Fox Smith
The faithful few have waited long
A life like this to see;
And they will understand the song
That flows to-day from me.
"From the Forests" by Henry Kendall
Though in the language of your land
My words are poor and few,
Oh, read my eyes, and understand,
I give my youth to you!
"Malay Song" by Laurence Hope
We met an old bare-headed man,
His locks were few and white,
I ask'd him what he did abroad
In that cold winter's night:
"The Complaints Of The Poor" by Robert Southey

In news:

Seniors looking to save a few dollars on prescriptions only have a few weeks to sign up for the Medicare drug discount card .
It's been a while since we've done a web tools run down, so over the next few weeks, we will look at a few items that have popped up since the last go around.
There are a few new faces and a few familiar ones on the College Station and Bryan City Council s.
0Over the past few weeks, there have been quite a few cases of high-speed chases throughout city limits .
I needed to clean out a few old messages from my voice mail today, and here are a few good ones I decided to hang on to for a while.
During the holiday season I've invited 11 of the greater Houston area's top scientific minds to share a few words on something — a trend, a discovery or an insight — in their field that excites them as they look ahead to the next few years.
Few things are so central to modern life, and few things have so much influence on our future.
A few weeks ago, I offered a few holiday greeting card tips for businesses.
I've gotten a few complaints from fellow Keefheads—note the inclusionary construction there—about the piece I posted a few weeks ago on Keith Richards's memoir, Life.
"A cycle highway is where cyclists get highest priority, with few obstacles and as few stops as possible," said Marie Kaastrup, a Copenhagen city official in charge of bicycle programs.
Here are a few Brunswick stories you may have missed over the past few days.
Just a few weeks ago, Mining Gazette sports editor Brandon Veale wrote a column describing his good fortune in getting to cover two last-second basketball games in the space of just a few days.
"I will bring a few frame drums and a few doumbeks," he said of the workshop.
And, we have a few easy tips on how to cut a few calories without taking away too much from the traditional meal.
But this town is dressing itself up in the hope it can entice tourists to spend a few days there rather than just a few hours.
***

In science:

The ionisation rate is dominated by x-rays from the central low-mass star in the upper few g cm−2 of the disk (Glassgold, Na jita & Igea 1997) and then by cosmic rays to depths of a few hundred g cm−2 (Hayashi 1981).
Early Disk Evolution
The red supergiant stage is a few hundred thousand years long, or less for the most massive stars, but the transition time from main sequence to RSG and later from RSG back to a yellow hypergiant may be only a few thousand years (Schaller et al. 1992; Schaerer et al. 1993).
High Resolution, Long - Slit Spectroscopy of VY CMa: The Evidence for Localized High Mass Loss Events
It reaches the midplane as a cm size pebble in a few hundred years, even though it would have taken a few million years to reach the midplane if the grain would not have grown to larger size on its way to the midplane.
Dust coagulation in protoplanetary disks: a rapid depletion of small grains
In the dye-scatterer system, the threshold of the pump power, at which the emission linewidth collapses from a few tens of nanometer to a few nanometers, is almost two orders of magnitude smaller in the system with scatterers than the one without.
Levy statistical fluctuations from a Random Amplifying Medium
This section is devoted to the proof of the ‘stability’ result, Theorem 3.9, which states that deleting a few vertices and their incident edges, and then adding or deleting a few edges, does not change the size of the giant component of Gn = GV (n, κn ) significantly.
The phase transition in inhomogeneous random graphs
In contrast, in percolation there are only a few models where the exact threshold can be determined: unless one of a few very special things happens, it seems to be impossible to give a simple formula for the critical point.
Spread-out percolation in R^d
Could it be that the Galaxy just had a brief hiatus in its SFR? It would not take too much of a pause (say a few centuries) to explain the absence of bright 44Ti sources if the past few centuries were very untypical with respect to the SFR (or SNR).
Are Ti44-Producing Supernovae Exceptional?
In a typical experiment [1, 2, 3, 4], the XUV pulses with a duration of a few hundred attoseconds are produced by filtering out the high energy part of the high harmonic spectrum which results from a nonlinear interaction of a few-cycle intense infrared (IR) laser pulse with a gas target.
Attosecond streaking experiments on atoms: quantum theory versus simple model
These 4 problems have been studied almost independently for the past few decades, but only over the last few years a common thread was found to link all of them.
Random Matrices, the Ulam Problem, Directed Polymers & Growth Models, and Sequence Matching
The endproduct data files for most packages rarely exceed a few kilobytes or a few hundred lines.
ARCHANGEL Galaxy Photometry System
With a few seconds settling time for the antenna after each switch, only a few seconds remained during which representative measurements could be taken.
Study of the Dynamics of Large Reflector Antennas with Accelerometers
Only a few subgiants are present, and a few cool, luminous stars.
Testing planet formation theories with Giant stars
Since we expect that ǫL can only vary within a factor of a few, the condition can be weaker only by a factor of a few.
The effect of turbulent intermittency on the deflagration to detonation transition in SN Ia explosions
The work provided some general results on the joint probability density of all N complex eigenvalues zi , as well as a few formulae for the few-point correlation functions (the so-called marginal distributions) of the eigenvalue densities.
On the mean density of complex eigenvalues for an ensemble of random matrices with prescribed singular values
Except for a few galaxies, the non-circular motions in the inner few kpc have an amplitude of ∼ 10 percent of the local rotation velocity, irrespective of the galaxies’ luminosity.
Dynamical Centers and Non-Circular Motions in THINGS Galaxies: Implications for Dark Matter Halos
***