spokenused to say that only a small amount of something is needed or has a great effect:
A little kindness goes a long way.
WORD CHOICE: WORD CHOICE: a few, few, a little, little, a bit, fewer, lessa few and few are used before plural nouns.a fewmeans 'a small number'• It will take a few minutes. • I've got a few friends who live nearby.fewmeans 'not many'. It emphasizes how small the number is. It is mainly used in writing or formal speech• Few people would deny her talent.• He has few interests outside his work.In spoken English or informal writing it is more usual to say not many• Not many people saw what happened. a little and little are used before uncountable nouns.a littlemeans 'some, but not a lot'• We still have a little time left.In spoken British English, it is more usual to say a bit• 'Are you tired?' 'A bit.' • I've got a bit of money left.little means 'not much'. It emphasizes how small the amount is. It is mainly used in writing or formal speech• There is now little hope of success.In spoken English or informal writing it is more usual to say not much• There was not much milk left.The comparative of few is fewer• Few people have read the book, and even fewer understand it.The comparative of little is less• We know little about his adult life, and less about his childhood.!! Sometimes people use lessbefore a plural noun, but many people think that this is incorrect, so it is better to use fewer• a village of fewer (NOT less) than 200 inhabitants ➔ See alsofew
Definition from the Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English Advanced Learner's Dictionary.