[ 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 Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for scarcely

British Dictionary definitions for scarcely


/ (ˈskɛəslɪ) /


hardly at all; only just
often ironic probably not or definitely notthat is scarcely justification for your actions


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