What word or sequence of words can I use if I have more than several, but less than many? E.g. if I have 10–15 of something, it may not be many (depending on context), but it's too many to be several. What word or phrase can I use?

  • There are many studies which show... (not true, in my context I don't consider 10–15 is many)
  • There are 10 studies which show... (not correct, it's not exactly 10 and I don't know the exact number, nor is it relevant)
  • There are several studies which show... (not correct, 10 is too many to be several)
  • There is a number of studies which show... (means nothing? 0 is a number, as is 1000?)

What is the correct word or sequence of words here?

  • 2
    Here's where French wins out. They have any number of words that express approximate quantities that are more than several but fewer than many: une dizaine (around 10), une douzaine (12), une quinzaine (15), une vingtaine (20), etc. I often find myself wanting to say "there are a twenty of those..." in English.
    – JAM
    Commented Jul 31, 2012 at 16:48
  • 3
    Neither several nor many is a well-defined term in standard English. This is not a constructive question as currently worded.
    – tchrist
    Commented Jul 31, 2012 at 16:54
  • 2
    I'm not looking for something well-defined. I'll think about how to reword the question. Wording a good question is a challenge in itself. Maybe I could put up another question "please help me word this question". Erm... :)
    – gerrit
    Commented Jul 31, 2012 at 16:57
  • A handful might work for you.
    – Noah
    Commented Jul 31, 2012 at 17:16
  • Online thesauri would seem to cover this perfectly adequately, making it a General Reference question.
    – tchrist
    Commented Jul 31, 2012 at 17:33

9 Answers 9


A 'dozen' is exactly 12, but you can use that for approximation, as well: 'there are around a dozen' or 'approximately a dozen'.

Alternatively, you can just say 'around 10', 'around 15', etc.

You can also say 'over 10' or 'at least 10' which implies that the number is close to 10.

  • I settled for "more than a dozen".
    – gerrit
    Commented Aug 2, 2012 at 9:27

The phrase quite a few may work. Curiously, it suggests more than a few but less than many. However, it is very vague and context dependent.

  • Not much difference between 'a few' and 'several' but 'quite a few' suggests more than one might expect. Actually, the true meaning of 'several' is 'separate(ly)', it comes from 'sever'. Commented Jul 31, 2012 at 20:14

All these terms are vague; there is no precise number to them, so there is no accurate comparison.

However measure words sometimes have somewhat predictable comparisons. 'several' is definitely more than 'a few', and 'many' is less than 'most'.

But between 'several' and 'many'? Those are fairly synonymous, with several only working with smaller integers and 'many' applying to pretty much any scale (it is more relative). 'some' is relative and definitely less than 'many' but

I have some marbles

How many do people have? I don't know maybe a hundred at most, so 'some' might mean here 10, 20, maybe 30?

I have several marbles

This means I have more than just a handful maybe even 10, or 20, or even 30.

On a different scale consider

There are some Muslims in India

India has a population of a billion, this would lead you to believe that there might be a subset of that (maybe millions?).

There are several Muslims in India

this makes it sounds like there are under a hundred, quite a different thing than millions.

That should tell you that there is no real, exact answer to your title question.

To the implicit question in the contents, you're saying that both 'several' and 'many' are too much. Then use 'some' or 'a few' or nothing at all. Even 'a number' works (no one would so pedantically think of 0, 1 or 2 as a number when you say that, it is mostly synonymous with 'some'.


So I suggest:

There are a number of studies that...

probably to be held as truthful should be three or more. Ibky two would be disingenuous.

There are studies that...

This doesn't quantify much at all, it is informally used as 'not one, but I want you to think more, but probably only two.


You might use a phrase like "a dozen to a score". I presume colloquial phrases like "several handfuls" or "a goodly number" or "in double digits" don't work in a context where one talks about certain studies showing certain things, but any of the phrases "about a dozen", "about a score", "more than a dozen", and "less than a score" might be suitable, depending on what you want to emphasize.

  • Score means 20 so about a score is pretty narrow.
    – bib
    Commented Jul 31, 2012 at 17:13

A double tilde?

There are ≈15 studies which show..

approximately? To me, several would mean "seven or thereabouts".. so it could be ten.

  • 1
    I think that saying “around 15” is applying a squishy “around” to too particular a figure. Note that your is U+2248 ALMOST EQUAL TO, but I bet you meant U+2245 APPROXIMATELY EQUAL TO, which is is . However, a simple U+223C TILDE OPERATOR is and includes the sense of “similar to”. For what it’s worth, there’s also U+224B TRIPLE TILDE .
    – tchrist
    Commented Jul 31, 2012 at 17:31
  • I'd probably use a single tilde in the instance given. ~15
    – PCARR
    Commented Jul 23, 2016 at 20:33

Perhaps the most colloquial is “a dozen or so”.

  • I’d put like a dozen further along the colloquial spectrum than a dozen or so.
    – tchrist
    Commented Jul 31, 2012 at 21:39
  • Yes, 'colloquial' is polysemic. Which word isn't? I meant the 'characteristic of the spoken language' sub-sense rather than the 'towards the informal end of the register continuum' sub-sense - and 'a dozen or so' sounds far more normal-conversational to my ears than 'like a dozen'. But then I am getting on a bit.... Actually, an Ngram of 'dozen or so' vs 'like a dozen' backs up my gut feeling - but I never trust these new technologies. Commented Jul 31, 2012 at 22:42
  • Monosemic isn’t polysemic, because if it were polysemic, then it wouldn’t be monosemic, now would it? :)
    – tchrist
    Commented Jul 31, 2012 at 22:45
  • I once discovered that Chambers 20th Century Dictionary (about 1960) had - as? in place of? a definition of the word 'mirbane' 'an apparently meaningless word'. (It appears in the compound (!) 'oil of mirbane' (nitrobenzene).) This would make 'mirbane' neither polysemic nor monosemic; there's probably not a term to cover this. Oh, and 'monosemic' would just be heterological if it were polysemic. Commented Jul 31, 2012 at 22:51
  • mirbane is “nitrobenzol used in perfumery”; its origins are obscure, but so too are many words’.
    – tchrist
    Commented Jul 31, 2012 at 22:54

What about the word multitude?

I think that word would or could work well.

  • multitude implies quite a lot, perhaps too much. But multiple might not.
    – PCARR
    Commented Jul 23, 2016 at 20:35

If you are just looking for synonyms, perhaps you could use Multiple, Various, Plentiful, Manifold, etc.

  • Where did he say that he was looking for synonyms?
    – Mohit
    Commented Apr 18, 2013 at 6:07

“There are enough studies to show”.

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