adj. few·er, few·est
1. Amounting to or consisting of a small number: one of my few bad habits. See Usage Note at less.
2. Being more than one but indefinitely small in number: bowled a few strings.
n. (used with a pl. verb)
1. An indefinitely small number of persons or things: A few of the books have torn jackets.
2. An exclusive or limited number: the discerning few; the fortunate few.
pron. (used with a pl. verb)
A small number of persons or things: "For many are called, but few are chosen" (Matthew 22:14).
[Middle English fewe, from Old English fēawe; see pau-1 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.