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

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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Cite this Entry

“Fewer.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fewer?pronunciation&lang=en_us&dir=f&file=fewer001. Accessed 16 Feb. 2020.

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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.

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More from Merriam-Webster on fewer

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for fewer

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with fewer

Nglish: Translation of fewer for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of fewer for Arabic Speakers

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