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

Keep scrolling for more

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 Health department reports also show fewer people have been showing up at hospital emergency rooms for COVID-like illness. Marc Freeman, sun-sentinel.com, "Florida counts another 146 people dead from COVID-19, as toll nears 13,000," 15 Sep. 2020 That should be especially true if that rush could be dampened by fewer people shopping in-person at stores and families not having in-person holiday celebrations due to covid-19. Heather Kelly, Washington Post, "What Apple didn’t announce: An iPhone 12," 15 Sep. 2020 Americans’ incomes rose sharply last year and fewer people were living in poverty but a growing number went without health insurance for the second straight year. Paul Davidson, USA TODAY, "Median U.S. household income rises 6.8% to $68,700 in 2019," 15 Sep. 2020 This year is the 13th year of unbroken decline for Southern Baptists, and as fewer young people remain in the church, leaders expect the trend to continue. Nicholas Rowan, Washington Examiner, "Southern Baptists drop 'southern' over racial connotations," 15 Sep. 2020 All those machines won't get as much use as usual this year because fewer people will vote in person and more will participate by mail. CBS News, "Bucks County in battleground Pennsylvania braces for influx of mail-in ballots: "We didn't expect these numbers"," 15 Sep. 2020 State officials said testing numbers in recent days appear to have dipped, perhaps in part because fewer people are seeking testing. oregonlive, "Coronavirus in Oregon: 151 new cases, 2 deaths as wildfires appear to hinder testing," 14 Sep. 2020 With fewer people watching, figuring out how to maximize revenues has been a tricky balance for network executives. Dan Kopf, Quartz, "Why TV shows like “The Simpsons” and “Grey’s Anatomy” keep getting shorter," 13 Sep. 2020 The bench areas will also have fewer people milling about. Naila-jean Meyers, Star Tribune, "What you will see and hear at the Vikings' opener vs. the Packers," 13 Sep. 2020

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.

See More

First Known Use of fewer

Pronoun, plural in construction

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about fewer

Time Traveler for fewer

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for fewer

Cite this Entry

“Fewer.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fewer. Accessed 28 Sep. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for fewer


How to pronounce fewer (audio)

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.

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on fewer

What made you want to look up fewer? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Challenging Vocabulary Quiz Returns!

  • stylized drawing of woman pole vaulting across gap to get trophy
  • Which is a synonym of fuliginous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!