few, a n.
1. (a good) many; a great deal.
|Citizen (1809) 26: Mind me when I go to work — throw my eyes about a few — handle the braces.|
|Jorrocks Jaunts (1874) 114: Stranger. What! you hunt, do you?Jorrocks. A few--you've perhaps heard tell of the Surrey ’unt?|
2. someone extreme in manner.
|Spirit of the Times 26 Jan. (N.Y.) 581: It was that feller Arch Cooly [...] Didn’t you know that ar’ hoss fly? He’s a few! well he is. Jewhilliken! how he could whip er nigger! and swar!! whew!‘Mike Hooter’s Bar Story’|
3. a number, unspecified, of drinks; usu. as have a few
|Tales of the Ex-Tanks 211: I took a few then and there before breakfast.|
|Bulletin (Sydney) 31 Aug. 15/1: He had driven into town, and had ‘met a few.’ I was asked by some of his friends to drive him home. And Simpson talked, turning his bleary eyes on me.|
|You Know Me Al (1984) 88: I wish I was lifting a few with you to-night.|
|Shearer’s Colt 90: He’s a fine chap, but he can’t carry too much and when he gets a few in he wants to fight somebody.|
|Summer Glare 50: The fathers returned home after their Saturday afternoon ‘few’.|
|One Day of the Year (1977) II iii: Y’r gettin’ carried away. Just because a coupla blokes get a few in—.|
|Dimboola (2000) 70: Let’s crack a few.|
|Too Many Crooks Spoil the Caper 171: There was nothing new in Scotland Yard hacks knocking back a few with the chaps.|
|You Wouldn’t Be Dead for Quids (1989) 23: I think you’ve had a few, haven’t you?|
|Reed Dict. of N.Z. Sl. 77: few, a Too many beers; have a few in, drunk. ANZ from early C20.|
4. (US prison) a short prison sentence.
|Life In Sing Sing 248: Few. Less than fifteen days. [Ibid.] 266: The month that has twenty-nine days in it is no longer counted as such, and if he has done one day of the last year his time is now ‘eleven and a few,’ or eleven months and a part of the twelfth.|
|Criminal Sl. (rev. edn).|
|DAUL 68/2: Few, a. A very short sentence; as days, in a workhouse; months, in a county penitentiary; two or three years in a prison.et al.|
5. a short time, i.e. a few minutes.
|Right As Rain 84: Back in a few.|
(orig. Aus.) to have a few drinks; thus have a few too many v., to be drunk (cf. have one too many under one n.1 ).
|Bulletin (Sydney) 9 Aug. 35/1: ‘Come an’ have a drink, missus.’ / ‘I don’t mind if I do have a lemonade,’ she said, bashfully. / She had evidently ‘had a few’ already, by the scent in her breath.|
|Bulletin (Sydney) 5 Aug. 47/1: [O]ne night, when I ’ad a few in, a couple of Johns got onto a cobber of mine, an’ I stuck fer ’im and stoushed one of the cops.|
|Good Companions 210: Let me ’ave a few or a bit o’ tinned salmon last thing, and I’m off, all night. [Ibid.] 422: I saw yon Morton Mitcham coming out of a pub and I could see he’d had a few.|
|Sharpe of the Flying Squad 240: He was like me, he’d had a few.|
|Coll. Stories (1965) 125: With a few in even Ben’s wife would have something to say. [Ibid.] ‘That Summer’ 149: So we got to the pub and we both had a good few in by closing time. [Ibid.] ‘That Summer’ 175: Even his missis came and had a few.‘Big Ben’ in|
|Death of a Barrow Boy 178: Well, ’e’d ’ad more’n a few when ’e left the Arms.|
|All Night Stand 55: I have a few [...] and I get carried away and the old fists start flailing.|
|(con. 1940s) Admiral (1968) 233: He half-supported his bleached blond and bosomy wife who had already had a few too many.|
|Breathing Spaces 10: He’s had a few in, all right.|
|Minder [TV script] 32: This geezer used to put a roof slate on the bar after he’d had a few, then smash it with his forehead.‘The Dessert Song’|
|Auf Wiedersehen Pet Two 48: Barry? A boozer? ‘I mean, ’as he had a few from time to time?’.|
|Rent Boy 52: We’re just hanging out, havin’ a few.|
|Soho 33: A steep, darkly lit staircase that could have you going arse over tip if you’d had a few.|
|Davey Darling 84: ‘Well, you know I’ve been down to the pub.’ [...] ‘Yeah, Bryce. He was having a few.’.|
|(con. 1973) Johnny Porno 191: See you in a few.|
to have a few drinks.
|‘Beer Rev.’ at BigBeefandBeer.com [Internet] Not many beers are as refreshing as a wheat, white, or weiss when the mercury passes ninety degrees. We’ve had quite a few days like that lately, so I’ve had plenty of chances to put a few down.|
|Dallas Morning News 28 Jun. [Internet] The thought is to play the games, then go to sponsoring pubs and put a few back.|
|Beer Advocate 30 July [Internet] Is there a brew you’ve got saved for today? [...] I’ve got some chores to knock out before I can put a few back.|