precious few/little

precious few

adjective Not much; scant. (Used solely with plural countable nouns; "precious little" is used with uncountable nouns.) He's had precious few job offers since he got out of college. We've had precious few details about the deal, so rumors are flying around the office at the moment.
See also: few, precious

precious little

1. adjective Not much; scant. (Used solely with uncountable nouns; "precious few" is used with plural countable nouns.) There's precious little evidence connecting him to the crime, but the prosecution is adamant that he's their man. We've had precious little information about the deal, so rumors are flying around the office at the moment.
2. noun A very small amount (of something). We still know precious little about who might be involved with the attack. There's been precious little in the way of details about the trade deal being struck between the two countries.
See also: little, precious
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.

precious few

 and precious little
very few; very little. (Few for people or things that can be counted, and little for amounts.) We get precious few tourists here in the winter. There's precious little food in the house and there is no money.
See also: few, precious
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

precious few

Also, precious little. Very few, very little, as in There are precious few leaves left on the trees, or We have precious little fuel left. In these idioms precious serves as an intensive, a colloquial usage dating from the first half of the 1800s.
See also: few, precious
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

precious little

or

precious few

If you say that there is precious little of something, you mean that there is very little of it, and that it would be better if there were more. The banks have had precious little to celebrate recently. Note: Precious few is used before plural nouns with the same meaning. Precious few homebuyers will notice any reduction in their monthly repayments.
See also: little, precious
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012

precious little (or few)

extremely little (or few).
See also: little, precious
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

precious ˈfew/ˈlittle

(informal) very few/little: There are precious few places round here where you can get good Indian food.
See also: few, little, precious
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017

precious few

Hardly any. The use of precious for “very” or “extremely” dates from the first half of the nineteenth century, and so does its pairing with “few.” For some reason it is never paired with any other adjective; one never hears of “precious many.” A. Gray used it in a letter of 1839, “While on the Continent I have received precious few letters,” and Neville Chamberlain used it in a speech to the House of Commons (August 26, 1886): “Precious few of them have declared in favour of the bill.”
See also: few, precious
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer
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