Definition of hardly
1a —used to emphasize a minimal amount or degree I hardly knew her. [=I didn't know her well at all.]It's almost new—there's hardly a scratch [=there are almost no scratches] on it.There's been hardly any [=almost no] news.There's hardly any [=almost none] left.Hardly anyone [=almost no one] showed up.We hardly ever [=almost never] see you these days!
b : by a narrow margin of time : only just We've hardly begun.
c : almost not I can hardly believe it! She was hardly able to control her excitement.
d : certainly not That news is hardly surprising. That hardly seems fair. [=that certainly does not seem fair] If you're satisfied with what you've got, you're hardly going to look for anything better.— Flannery O'Connor
e informal —used to soften a negative … you can't hardly tell who anyone is or isn't.— George Bernard Shaw
2 dated : with difficulty : painfully … where the means of existence was wrung so hardly from the soil …— Sir Winston Churchill
3 dated : in a severe manner : harshly Things may go hardly with us … before the war is over.— Nevil Shute … he ranted on in a towering passion of wrath and grief. … He believed himself hardly used indeed.— E. Barrington (Elizabeth Louisa Moresby Beck)
4 archaic : with force : vigorously … earrings jangling down hardly on diminutive gold chains …— Osbert Sitwell
Love words? Need even more definitions?Merriam-Webster unabridged
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