A Dictionary of the English Language
                        A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson
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View Scan · View Transcription · from pages 793, 794

View Scan · View Transcription · from pages 793, 794

Few. adj. [fewo, feowa, Saxon; fua, Danish.]

  1. Not many; not in a great number.

    We are left but few of many. Jer.

    So much the thirst of honour fires the blood;
    So many would be great, so few be good;
    For who would virtue for herself regard,
    Or wed without the portion of reward?
    Dryd. Juvenal.

    On Winter seas, we fewer storms behold,
    Than foul diseases that infect the fold.
    Dryden's Virg. Geor.

    Men have fewer or more simple ideas from without, according as the objects they converse with afford greater or less variety. Locke.

    The fewer still you name, you wound the more;
    Bond is but one, but Harpax is a score.
    Pope's Hor. Imitat.

    Party is the madness of many, for the game of a few. Swift.

    The imagination of a poet is a thing so nice and delicate, that it is no easy matter to find out images capable of giving pleasure to one of the few, who, in any age, have come up to that character. Berkley to Pope.

  2. Sometimes elliptically; not many words.

    To answer both allegations at once, the very substance of that they contain is in few but this. Hooker, b. v. s. 22.

    So having said, he thus to Eve in few:
    Say, woman, what is this which thou hast done?

    Thus Jupiter in few unfolds the charge. Dryden's Æn.

    The firm resolve I here in few disclose. Pope's Odyssey.

Sources: Berkeley, George (3) · Dryden, John (788) · Hooker, Richard (175) · The Bible - Jeremiah (13) · Locke, John (269) · Milton, John (449) · Pope, Alexander (393) · Swift, Jonathan (306)

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Cite this page: Johnson, Samuel. "Few." A Dictionary of the English Language: A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson. Edited by Brandi Besalke. Last modified: June 18, 2012. https://johnsonsdictionaryonline.com/few/.

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