Learn English – What does “fewer and fewer” mean?

idiomsrepetition

What does the idiom "fewer and fewer" mean?

Does it mean seldom or step by step?

Best Answer

It's not an idiom, because it means exactly what it says. This may be why it's difficult to search for an explanation.

Any repeated word in such an expression (like step by step) implies some sort of repetition: a step followed by another and so on. Such expressions indicate a continuous process.

So it is with fewer and fewer: at one instance there are fewer [of whatever] than before; look again and there are fewer still.

A random sentence from the internet has

But due to the exchange rate, fewer and fewer Chilean grapes are coming to Europe.

Over time, the number of grapes exported to Europe is dropping. One year there are fewer than the previous year; the next year, even fewer.