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few

[fyoo] /fyu/
adjective, fewer, fewest.
1.
not many but more than one:
Few artists live luxuriously.
noun
2.
(used with a plural verb) a small number or amount:
Send me a few.
3.
the few, a special, limited number; the minority:
That music appeals to the few.
pronoun
4.
(used with a plural verb) a small number of persons or things:
A dozen people volunteered, but few have shown up.
Idioms
5.
few and far between, at widely separated intervals; infrequent:
In Nevada the towns are few and far between.
6.
quite a few, a fairly large number; many:
There were quite a few interesting things to do.
Origin
900
before 900; Middle English fewe, Old English fēawe; cognate with Gothic fawai; akin to Latin paucus few, paulus little, pauper poor, Greek paûros little, few
Related forms
overfew, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for few far between

few

/fjuː/
determiner
1.
  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
2.
(preceded by a)
  1. a small number of a few drinks
  2. (as pronoun; functioning as plural) a few of you
3.
(informal) a good few, several
4.
few and far between
  1. at great intervals; widely spaced
  2. not abundant; scarce
5.
have a few, have a few too many, to consume several (or too many) alcoholic drinks
6.
(informal) not a few, quite a few, several
noun
7.
the few, a small number of people considered as a class the few who fell at Thermopylae Compare many (sense 4)
Derived Forms
fewness, noun
Word Origin
Old English fēawa; related to Old High German fao little, Old Norse fār little, silent
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for few far between
few
O.E. feawe (contracted to fea), from Gmc. *faw- (cf. O.N. far, Dan. faa, O.Fris. fe, O.H.G. foh "little," Goth. fawai "few"), from PIE *pau- "smallness" (cf. L. paucus "few, little," paullus "little," pauper "poor;" Gk. pauros "few, little," pais (gen. paidos) "child;" L. puer "child, boy," pullus "young animal;" Oscan puklu "child;" Skt. potah "a young animal," putrah "son;" O.C.S. puta "bird;" Lith. putytis "young animal, young bird"). Always plural in O.E. Phrase few and far between attested from 1668. Unusual ironic use in quite a few "many" (1883), earlier a good few (1828).
"Never in the field of human conflict was so much owed by so many to so few." [Winston Churchill, 1940]
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with few far between
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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