Definition of scarcely in English:

scarcely

adverb

  • 1Only just; almost not.

    ‘her voice is so low I can scarcely hear what she is saying’
    • ‘Then there are those who prefer a more flexible feast, offering haggis ravioli then Scotch trifle with mango, and there's scarcely a poem to be heard or a kilt to be seen.’
    • ‘He lay petrified in the elf's shirt, scarcely daring to breath.’
    • ‘This, then, is not a rags to riches tale, but one of a treasure chest so scarcely concealed that the topsoil barely covered it.’
    • ‘These days, it is scarcely legal to whisper ‘Is there any more paper?’’
    • ‘The argument in favour of local shops is scarcely heard.’
    • ‘I heard the scarcely audible click of claws on the tiles: a step, then a hesitation.’
    • ‘Kirstie sat very still, scarcely able to take in what she was hearing.’
    • ‘It is unfathomably silent on Broadway tonight; there's scarcely a car.’
    • ‘The deep Russian bass is chanting as though through a long resonant tube, scarcely surfacing for breath.’
    • ‘Democrats in Boston tacitly acknowledged the potential power of this message as the word ‘liberal’ was scarcely heard all week.’
    • ‘Unfortunately you could scarcely hear them, but at least they looked to be having fun.’
    • ‘In that moment he could scarcely breathe, and yet the air was filling his lungs like an inflated balloon, stretching them painfully.’
    • ‘They've been crying out to be heard for so long, they could scarcely believe someone was there to listen to their stories.’
    • ‘The day was calm, so calm that there was scarcely a breath of air.’
    • ‘The action scarcely draws breath in 300-odd pages of rowdy doings and closet skulduggery.’
    • ‘An acknowledged expert in finance, his budgets were received with scarcely a dissentient voice.’
    • ‘The reaction to it has been overwhelmingly positive with scarcely a critical voice to be heard anywhere.’
    • ‘Her feet made no sound against the smooth flagstones beneath them, and her breathing was scarcely audible.’
    • ‘She wraps one leg around the other and scarcely pauses for breath before elaborating.’
    • ‘Who could blame them, the wider world had scarcely heard of the British Virgin Islands.’
    hardly, barely, only just
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Only a very short time before.
      ‘she had scarcely dismounted before the door swung open’
      • ‘The guard was scarcely out of sight when he heard a high shout from behind him.’
      • ‘That would suggest that the last books can scarcely have been written before the early years of Hadrian's reign, perhaps c. 120.’
    2. 1.2 Used to suggest that something is unlikely to be or certainly not the case.
      ‘they could scarcely all be wrong’
      • ‘In such circumstances it is scarcely surprising that politics and politicians are now held in low esteem.’
      • ‘On the other hand, it was certainly fostered by Charlemagne himself, without whom it would scarcely have happened.’
      • ‘Expectations, helpfully, could scarcely be lower.’
      • ‘While it certainly addresses that trickiest of topics, it can scarcely be considered a novel, at least in any conventional sense of the term.’
      • ‘While polling suggests Australians oppose privatisations, they are scarcely new and are seen as facts of life.’
      • ‘Victory over the bypass was sweet, but plans to streamline planning suggest the fight is scarcely over’
      rarely, seldom, infrequently, not often, hardly ever, almost never, on rare occasions, every once in a while
      surely not, not, hardly, certainly not, definitely not, not at all, on no account, under no circumstances, by no means
      View synonyms

Pronunciation

scarcely

/ˈskɛːsli/