Few vs Alew - What's the difference?

few | alew |

As a proper noun few

is (british) the pilots who fought in the battle of britain.

As a noun alew is

(obsolete|rare) a cry of despair.




  • (preceded by another determiner) An indefinite, but usually small, number of.
  • * {{quote-magazine, date=2013-08-10, volume=408, issue=8848, magazine=(The Economist)
  • , title= A new prescription , passage=No sooner has a [synthetic] drug been blacklisted than chemists adjust their recipe and start churning out a subtly different one. These “legal highs” are sold for the few months it takes the authorities to identify and ban them, and then the cycle begins again.}}
    I was expecting lots of people at the party, but very few''''' (=''almost none'') ''turned up.   Quite a '''few''' of them'' (=''many of them'') ''were pleasantly surprised.   I don't know how many drinks I've had, but I've had a '''few . [This usage is likely ironic.]
  • (used alone) Not many; a small (in comparison with another number stated or implied) but somewhat indefinite number of.
  • (meteorology, of clouds) (US?) Obscuring one eighth to two eighths of the sky.
  • NOAA definition of the term "few clouds": An official sky cover classification for aviation weather observations, descriptive of a sky cover of 1/8 to 2/8. This is applied only when obscuring phenomenon aloft are present--that is, not when obscuring phenomenon are surface-based, such as fog.
  • (meteorology, of rainfall with regard to a location) (US?) Having a 10 percent chance of measurable precipitation (0.01 inch); used interchangeably with isolated.
  • Usage notes

    * (term) is used with plural nouns only; its synonymous counterpart (little) is used with nouns. * Although indefinite in nature, a few is usually more than two (two often being referred to as "a couple of"), and less than "several". If the sample population is say between 5 and 20, a few would mean three or four, but no more than this. However, if the population sample size were in the millions, "a few" could refer to several hundred items. In other words, few'' in this context means ''a very very small percentage but way over the 3 or 4 usually ascribed to it its use with much much smaller numbers. : (term) is grammatically affirmative but semantically negative, and it can license negative polarity items. For example, lift a finger usually cannot be used in affirmative sentences, but can be used in sentences with (term). *: He didn't lift a finger to help us. *: *He lifted a finger to help us. (ungrammatical) *: Few people lifted a finger to help us. *: *A few people lifted a finger to help us. (ungrammatical) *: *Fewer people lifted a finger to help us. (ungrammatical)


    * little (see usage)


    * many

    Derived terms

    * a few * quite a few


    (English Pronouns)
  • Few people, few things.
  • Many are called, but few are chosen.


    * many


    * Meteorology (both senses) *: NOAA Glossary: f




    (en noun)
  • (obsolete, rare) A cry of despair.
  • *1596 , (Edmund Spenser), The Faerie Queene , V.6:
  • *:Yet did she not lament with loude alew , / As women wont, but with deepe sighes and singults few.