During typical conversation, how would one define couple, few and several? I have read the actual definitions; however, they appear to be a bit vague. My thoughts are:

  • A couple is two.
  • A few is three to five.
  • Several is six to 11.
  • After 11 is obviously a dozen...

What is the consensus among us rational people? Please do not get too literal.

  • 1
    None of your "definitions" is correct in any way. There's no relation between the broadly-defined commonly-used idiomatic expressions a couple, a few, several, ... and discrete numbers. There's a good reason why the dictionaries are "a bit vague:" the words are supposed to give a vague idea, not put a concrete number on something. You get the idea.
    – Kris
    Feb 12, 2015 at 6:08
  • If I'm talking about a group of five people, and four of them drink beer, that is not a few of them. I agree that assigning definite numbers to these expressions is futile. The only one that literally would give a number is indeed a couple but even that is not always two. If I go out with a couple of people, there's likely more than three in total. (If I go out with a couple, there are exactly three of us though!)
    – oerkelens
    Feb 12, 2015 at 7:52
  • @oerkelens I have no period of this but it seems from the UK that the use of "couple" to mean more than 2 is more prevalent -- or more accepted -- in the US than here.
    – Chris H
    Feb 12, 2015 at 9:05


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