[ 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.

Nearby words

  1. scaramouche,
  2. scarborough,
  3. scarborough lily,
  4. scarce,
  5. scarce as hen's teeth,
  6. scarcely ever,
  7. scarcement,
  8. scarcity,
  9. scare,
  10. scare out of one's wits

Origin of scarcely

Middle English word dating back to 1250–1300; see origin at scarce, -ly

Can be confusedbarely 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