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[skairs-lee] /ˈskɛərs li/
barely; hardly; not quite:
The light is so dim we can scarcely see.
definitely not:
This is scarcely the time to raise such questions.
probably not:
You could scarcely have chosen better.
Origin of scarcely
Middle English word dating back to 1250-1300; See origin at scarce, -ly
Can be confused
barely, hardly, scarcely (see synonym study at hardly)
Synonym Study
1. See hardly.
Usage note
1. See hardly. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for scarcely
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • A gentle strain of music, scarcely audible, seemed to make reply.

    Philothea Lydia Maria Child
  • "Dearest Philothea, I scarcely know his countenance," replied the maiden.

    Philothea Lydia Maria Child
  • You were scarcely two years old, when you and your nurse suddenly disappeared.

    Philothea Lydia Maria Child
  • But he is now gone where he will scarcely have the opportunity even of such conversation.

    The Grand Old Man Richard B. Cook
  • There was a scarcely disguised intention to revive protection.

    The Grand Old Man Richard B. Cook
British Dictionary definitions for scarcely


hardly at all; only just
(often ironic) probably not or definitely not: that is scarcely justification for your actions
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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