few·​er | \ ˈfyü-ər How to pronounce fewer (audio) , ˈfyu̇r \

Definition of fewer

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a smaller number of persons or things



Definition of fewer (Entry 2 of 2)

comparative of few

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Less vs. Fewer: Usage Guide


The traditional view is that less applies to matters of degree, value, or amount and modifies collective nouns, mass nouns, or nouns denoting an abstract whole while fewer applies to matters of number and modifies plural nouns. Less has been used to modify plural nouns since the days of King Alfred and the usage, though roundly decried, appears to be increasing. Less is more likely than fewer to modify plural nouns when distances, sums of money, and a few fixed phrases are involved less than 100 miles an investment of less than $2000 in 25 words or less and as likely as fewer to modify periods of time. in less (or fewer) than four hours

Examples of fewer in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective There are still 5 million fewer jobs compared to before the pandemic, reflecting ongoing problems, including child care as some schools and day cares shut down again from outbreaks. Heather Long, Alyssa Fowers, Andrew Van Dam, Anchorage Daily News, 4 Sep. 2021 Quillen said there have been fewer this year and speculated 2020 saw more people recreating on the water because stay-at-home orders shut down indoor options. Lilly St. Angelo, The Indianapolis Star, 4 Sep. 2021 After the Australian Open win, Osaka was very up-front about her intentions to play fewer tournaments throughout the year and focus on the Grand Slams and a small number of other big events. Dan Wolken, USA TODAY, 4 Sep. 2021 Three of the losses were by six or fewer points, and one was in double overtime. Mark Heim | Mheim@al.com, al, 4 Sep. 2021 That means about 375,000 fewer jobs than if the city had at least kept pace with the country as a whole. New York Times, 3 Sep. 2021 According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the leisure and hospitality sector counted 1.7 million fewer jobs in July than in February 2020. Washington Post, 2 Sep. 2021 Low-paying industries had 15% fewer jobs in December 2020 than at the start of the pandemic, according to an analysis of federal labor statistics by the nonpartisan California Budget & Policy Center. Joe Garofoli, San Francisco Chronicle, 22 Aug. 2021 That should have been good enough to make progress, but the Sox were 5-5 as the bullpen posted a 6.00 ERA and the lineup was held to three or fewer runs four times. BostonGlobe.com, 21 Aug. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'fewer.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of fewer

Pronoun, plural in construction

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for fewer

Time Traveler

The first known use of fewer was before the 12th century

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Dictionary Entries Near fewer



few if any

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Statistics for fewer

Cite this Entry

“Fewer.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fewer. Accessed 16 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for fewer



English Language Learners Definition of fewer

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a smaller number of people or things



English Language Learners Definition of fewer (Entry 2 of 2)

: not so many : a smaller number of


few·​er | \ ˈfyü-ər How to pronounce fewer (audio) \

Kids Definition of fewer

: a smaller number Fewer got injured this year.

More from Merriam-Webster on fewer

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for fewer

Nglish: Translation of fewer for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of fewer for Arabic Speakers


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