a few
{n.} or {adj.} A small number (of people or things); some. * /The dry weather killed most of Mother's flowers, but a few are left./ * /In the store, Mary saw many pretty rings and bracelets, and she wanted to buy a few of them./ * /After the party, we thought that no one would help clean up, but a few couples did./ * /Alice wanted to read a few pages more before she stopped./ - Usually "a few" is different in meaning from "few", which emphasizes the negative; "a few" means "some", but "few" means "not many". * /We thought no one would come to lunch, but a few came./ * /We thought many people would come to lunch, but few came./ But sometimes "a few" is used with "only", and then it is negative. * /We thought many people would come to lunch, but only a few came./ - Sometimes used like an adverb. * /Three students have no seats; we need a few more chairs./ * /If we can set up chairs faster than people come and sit in them, we will soon be a few ahead./ - Sometimes used with "very" for emphasis. * /Uncle Ralph gave away almost all of his sea shells, but he still had a very few left./ Compare: A LITTLE. Contrast: A LOT, QUITE A FEW.

Dictionary of American idioms. 2013.

Look at other dictionaries:

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