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

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 Ohtani has allowed two runs or fewer in eight of 11 starts. Creg Stephenson | Cstephenson@al.com, al, 22 June 2022 The Sox had been held to three runs or fewer in four of Cueto’s first five starts. Lamond Pope, Chicago Tribune, 19 June 2022 Melton allowed two runs or fewer in eight of 10 starts, giving up three runs in the other two outings. San Diego Union-Tribune, 16 June 2022 To make up for fewer employees, companies speeded up assembly lines. Mike Smith, Detroit Free Press, 12 June 2022 In December, the railroad had 1,500 fewer employees than at the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Luz Lazo, Washington Post, 2 June 2022 Echoing a common Republican talking point that has been refuted by researchers, Normoyle said the best way to prevent deadly shootings is to have more, not fewer, armed citizens. Mike Hixenbaugh, NBC News, 27 May 2022 Boston starters have allowed two runs or fewer in 19 of the past 27 games ... Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, 21 May 2022 Hill has allowed two or fewer earned runs in seven of his 11 starts this season . . . Peter Abraham, BostonGlobe.com, 11 June 2022 See More

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.

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 28 Jun. 2022.

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More Definitions for fewer


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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