hardly

2 ENTRIES FOUND:

hard·ly

adverb \ˈhärd-lē\

: almost not at all

: almost not

—used to say that something reached a specifed condition or happened only a short time before

Full Definition of HARDLY

1
:  with force :  vigorously
2
:  in a severe manner :  harshly
3
:  with difficulty :  painfully
4
a —used to emphasize a minimal amount <I hardly knew her> <almost new — hardly a scratch on it>
b —used to soften a negative <you can't hardly tell who anyone is — G. B. Shaw>
5
:  certainly not <that news is hardly surprising>

Usage Discussion of HARDLY

Hardly in sense 5 is used sometimes with not for emphasis <just another day at the office? Not hardly>. In sense 4b with a negative verb (as can't, wouldn't, didn't) it does not make a double negative but softens the negative. In you can't hardly find a red one, the sense is that you can find a red one, but only with difficulty; in you can't find a red one, the sense is that red ones are simply not available. Use of hardly with a negative verb is a speech form; it is most commonly heard in Southern and Midland speech areas. In other speech areas and in all discursive prose, hardly is normally used with a positive <you can hardly find a red one>.

Examples of HARDLY

  1. It hardly matters what I think.
  2. The changes in service have hardly been noticed.
  3. There are hardly any new features in this software.
  4. Hardly anyone showed up for the meeting.
  5. Hardly a day goes by when I don't think about you.
  6. This is hardly a new idea for a movie.
  7. Is this a new idea for a movie? Hardly! I've seen dozens of movies just like it.

First Known Use of HARDLY

before 12th century

Browse

Next Word in the Dictionary: hardly ever
Previous Word in the Dictionary: hard–luck
All Words Near: hardly

Seen & Heard

What made you want to look up hardly? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Get Our Free Apps
Voice Search, Favorites,
Word of the Day, and More
Join Us on FB & Twitter
Get the Word of the Day and More