[ bair-lee ]
/ ˈbɛər li /


only just; scarcely; no more than; almost not: He had barely enough money to pay for the car.
without disguise or concealment; openly: They gave the facts to him barely.
scantily; meagerly; sparsely.
Archaic. merely.

Origin of barely

before 950; Middle English; Old English bærlīce. See bare1, -ly

Can be confused

barely hardly scarcely (see synonym study at hardly)

Usage note

1. See hardly. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for barely

British Dictionary definitions for barely


/ (ˈbɛəlɪ) /


only just; scarcelybarely enough for their needs
informal not quite; nearlybarely old enough
scantily; poorlybarely furnished
archaic openly


See hardly
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