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 Most recordings of humpbacks seem almost violin-like, but this was much, much deeper—barely a sound, more a vibration that was felt rather than heard. The Economist, "Thar she blew An elegy for the world’s biggest creatures," 28 Nov. 2020 The death of George Floyd added a layer of pain that Olivia, who is Black, is barely able to process. Author: Hannah Natanson, Laura Meckler, Anchorage Daily News, "Remote school is leaving children sad and angry," 27 Nov. 2020 The Nittany Lions are still looking for their first after becoming the first preseason top-10 team to start the season 0-5, while Michigan barely escaped in triple overtime against Rutgers last week to avoid a 1-4 start. C.j. Doon,, "College football storylines, Week 13: Alabama vs. Auburn headlines a strange Rivalry Week," 27 Nov. 2020 Basketball lost 83-64 and then barely won 95-91 despite being an overwhelming favorite. Giana Han, al, "Auburn-Alabama rivalry transcends Iron Bowl, draws athletics program together," 26 Nov. 2020 At that point, Allen was barely able to keep his composure. Jon Blau, The Indianapolis Star, "Tom Allen, underdog IU football aim to 'keep proving everybody wrong.'," 16 Nov. 2020 Kennedy Johnson, a 19-year-old in Rancho Cucamonga, California, watched as her mother and grandmother cried with joy at the news of Biden's win, barely able to produce words. Matt Sedensky, Star Tribune, "For some who bore toll of virus, Biden offers sign of hope," 8 Nov. 2020 In its place was a numbness in his legs that left him barely able to claw his way out of bed. Kevin Sherrington, Dallas News, "Not many know the story behind Sam Fraley’s path to Temple football. Turns out, he’s just like his father.," 6 Nov. 2020 The Cowboys have had fans at all four home games, with the biggest so far (barely) at 25,174 against the Cardinals. oregonlive, "Arizona Cardinals dominate the Dallas Cowboys: Recap, score, stats and more," 19 Oct. 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

30 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Barely.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Dec. 2020.

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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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