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Scottish National Dictionary (1700–)

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About this entry:
First published 1956 (SND Vol. IV). Includes material from the 1976 supplement.
This entry has not been updated since then but may contain minor corrections and revisions.

FEW, adj. For Sc. forms see Fyow. Sc. usages:

1. Qualifying nouns which are sing. in Eng. usage, but treated as pl. in Sc., e.g. broth, porridge, soup, a little (Fif. 1909 Colville 94; Slg.3, wm.Sc.1 1951). Also in Eng. dial.Edb. 1782 Session Papers, Nicolson v. Martin (26 July) 24:
The deponent has carried her a few broth, when she knew the pursuer had not tasted meat for a day.
wm.Sc. 1827 T. Hamilton Cyril Thornton (1848) vi.:
One of these my uncle filled to the brim with broth, and handed across the table to me, informing me, at the same time, that he had only sent me “a very few.”
Wgt. 1880 G. Fraser Lowland Lore 158:
Like the sowens o' Wigg, there was owre little o' them; or, according to strict, local phraseology, “owre few o' them.”
Fif. 1899 “S. Tytler” Miss Nanse vii.:
I would recommend something lighter — a few broth, or a dish of mince collops.

2. Phr.: a good few, a good many, a considerable number (of). Gen.Sc. and colloq. Eng.Edb. 1828 D. M. Moir Mansie Wauch (1839) vii.:
We collected a good few friends to a tea-drinking.
Sc. 1865 Carlyle Fred. the Gt. V. 499:
There are still a good few Sorrows which lie wrapt in silence.
Sc. 1884 Stevenson Letters (1899) I. 328:
I have written a good few [letters] since.
Gall. 1890 Trans. Dmf. and Gall. Antiq. Soc. 58:
There was a good few at the kirk.

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"Few adj.". Dictionary of the Scots Language. 2004. Scottish Language Dictionaries Ltd. Accessed 20 Jun 2024 <>



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