bare·​ly | \ ˈber-lē How to pronounce barely (audio) \

Definition of barely

1 : in a meager manner : plainly a barely furnished room
2 : scarcely, hardly barely enough money for lunch

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Examples of barely in a Sentence

We barely spoke the entire time we were in the car. There are barely any new features in this software. There is barely a difference between the two.
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Recent Examples on the Web Taylor even assembled a segment of fragments that barely made it to our ears — forgotten or abandoned by Beethoven, but necessary to the story. Washington Post, "The best way to honor Beethoven’s 250th? Listen to every note he ever wrote.," 24 Dec. 2020 That data shows New Orleans barely made it under that threshold. Jeff Adelson,, "New Orleans bars may stay open under state coronavirus rules, but city restrictions could come," 16 Dec. 2020 Dallas barely missed the playoffs in 2020 after finishing ninth. Destine Gibson, Dallas News, "‘We will build a championship team’: Wings officially announce Vickie Johnson as next head coach," 9 Dec. 2020 After Iowa State sacked Ehlinger on third down, Texas' Cameron Dicker barely missed left with a 58-yard field goal attempt as time expired. Mark Rosner, Star Tribune, "Hall's late TD lifts No. 15 Iowa State over No. 20 Texas," 27 Nov. 2020 That Republican candidate, former Navy cryptologist Tony Gonzales, barely made it out of a divisive GOP primary runoff, and therefore got a late start in the general election. Gilbert Garcia,, "Garcia: District 23 was this year’s biggest missed opportunity for Texas Dems," 13 Nov. 2020 This sweater is for those of us who just barely made got a gift this year. Kori Williams, Seventeen, "31 Ugly Christmas Sweaters That Will Put You in the Holiday Spirit," 12 Nov. 2020 Wheeler barely missed winning the election outright in May and then faced an unexpected dogfight throughout the fall. oregonlive, "Which Portland neighborhoods voted for Mayor Ted Wheeler and challenger Sarah Iannarone: interactive map," 5 Nov. 2020 But his challenger, Joe Biden, has barely made a peep about policy. Andrew Stuttaford, National Review, "Biden’s Program: What Did He Mean by That?," 2 Nov. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'barely.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of barely

circa 1513, in the meaning defined at sense 2

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Time Traveler for barely

Time Traveler

The first known use of barely was circa 1513

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Statistics for barely

Last Updated

11 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Barely.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for barely


bare·​ly | \ ˈber-lē \

Kids Definition of barely

1 : almost not The old man's voice was barely audible now.— Ellen Raskin, The Westing Game
2 : with nothing to spare : by a narrow margin I'd barely enough to eat. She barely passed the test.

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Comments on barely

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