- only just; almost not; barely: We had hardly reached the lake when it started raining. hardly any; hardly ever.
- not at all; scarcely: That report is hardly surprising.
- with little likelihood: He will hardly come now.
- forcefully or vigorously.
- with pain or difficulty.
- British. harshly or severely.
Origin of hardly
Examples from the Web for hardly
But locals there say any money deposited is thrown into an unlocked cupboard behind the tellers, hardly inspiring confidence.ISIS’s Futile Quest to Go Legit
January 5, 2015
I was already over forty, had hardly a nickel in my pocket and this was the biggest break in my life.The Story Behind Lee Marvin’s Liberty Valance Smile
January 3, 2015
The grim instability of shelter life is hardly a recipe for success under the best of circumstances.His First Day Out Of Jail After 40 Years: Adjusting To Life Outside
January 3, 2015
That may be, but experts say that “similarities” to other attacks is hardly a slam dunk.FBI Won’t Stop Blaming North Korea for Sony Hack -- Despite New Evidence
December 30, 2014
It was a reminder that, as Beyoncé once sang, “Perfection is the disease of a nation,” and her family is hardly flawless.Yoncé Said Knock You Out: The Solange and Jay Z Story
December 29, 2014
You've been so devoted to her for three days that you've hardly bowed to old friends.The Spenders
Harry Leon Wilson
Hope asked no questions, and hardly felt the impulse to inquire what had happened.
She hardly looked up or spoke; but for me, I cared for nothing since she was with me.
I can hardly think that Parliament will adopt a different view.
It can hardly be to-day, however, for here we are at Harlowe House.Grace Harlowe's Return to Overton Campus
Jessie Graham Flower
- scarcely; barelywe hardly knew the family
- just; only justhe could hardly hold the cup
- often ironic almost or probably not or not at allhe will hardly incriminate himself
- with difficulty or effort
- rare harshly or cruelly
Word Origin and History for hardly
c.1200, "in a hard manner, with great exertion or effort," from Old English heardlic "stern, severe, harsh; bold, warlike" (see hard + -ly (2)). Hence "assuredly, certainly" (early 14c.). Main modern sense of "barely, just" (1540s) reverses this, via the intermediate meaning "not easily, with trouble" (early 15c.). Formerly with superficial negative (not hardly).