a few

Idioms & Phrases

a few

A small number of persons or things. This phrase can differ slightly from few used alone, which means "not many." For example, The party was to end at eight, but a few stayed on indicates that a small number of guests remained, whereas The party began at eight, and few attended means that hardly any guests came. [Late 1200s] Also see quite a bit (few).

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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