rare·ly | \ˈrer-lē \

Definition of rarely 

1 : not often : seldom

2 : with rare skill : excellently

3 : in an extreme or exceptional manner

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Synonyms & Antonyms for rarely


infrequently, little, seldom


frequently, oft, often, oftentimes (or ofttimes)

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Examples of rarely in a Sentence

She rarely talks about her past. Rarely do we see this kind of weather in our area. Only rarely is surgery necessary to treat this condition.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Past attempts to add shotguns and rifles to the list of regulated firearms in Maryland have failed — largely out of concerns that they are used commonly by hunters and farmers, but rarely in crimes. Scott Dance, baltimoresun.com, "Maryland's strict gun laws could not prevent Capital Gazette shooting, spurring talk of changes," 2 July 2018 Those readers should know that the creators of this year’s list were rarely in lockstep themselves on which players belonged where as the rankings were taking shape. Chris Johnson And Eric Single, SI.com, "Inside SI's Top 100 Players of 2018: Settling Debates and Predicting Our Biggest Misses," 25 June 2018 The site has rarely been used by large aircraft since the Soviets abandoned it and pulled out of Lithuania after the end of the Cold War. Carlo Angerer /, NBC News, "NATO focuses on speed in the Baltics amid worries over Russia," 23 June 2018 In China, cash and credit cards are rarely used anymore; they’ve been replaced by Alibaba and WeChat’s mobile pay schemes, which are similar to Apple Pay (except everyone actually uses it). Will Ford, Outside Online, "Can American Brands Tap the Chinese Outdoor Market?," 20 June 2018 Highlight: The stadium is rarely used for concerts thanks to its massive size. Ed Masley, azcentral, "23 of the most popular concert venues in metro Phoenix, ranked by size," 19 June 2018 Since then, Fitz has slowly unplugged from Facebook and Instagram and rarely uses them these days. William Wan, Washington Post, "Rebel developers are trying to cure our smartphone addiction — with an app," 17 June 2018 Since then, Fitz has slowly unplugged from Facebook and Instagram and rarely uses them these days. William Wan, Houston Chronicle, "Rebel developers are trying to cure our smartphone addiction - with an app," 17 June 2018 Grand juries, which are held in secret, are rarely used in state court cases in Kansas. Steve Vockrodt And Lauren Fox, kansascity, "Schlitterbahn to tear down Verruckt water slide in KCK where young boy died in 2016," 12 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'rarely.' 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 rarely

1549, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Phrases Related to rarely

rarely/seldom ever

rarely/seldom if ever

Statistics for rarely

Last Updated

11 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for rarely

The first known use of rarely was in 1549

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More Definitions for rarely



English Language Learners Definition of rarely

: not very often


rare·ly | \ˈrer-lē \

Kids Definition of rarely

: not often I rarely go.

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Comments on rarely

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


not any or not one

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