rare·​ly | \ ˈrer-lē How to pronounce rarely (audio) \

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



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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 Airports are packed with guts passengers rarely see or think about, none of which do well in floods. Wired, "How Airports Are Protecting Themselves Against Rising Seas," 2 Dec. 2019 The other teams in the league, from year to year, continue to oscillate between good, average and bad – rarely achieving the success that would vault them into the sport’s elite tier. Rainer Sabin, Detroit Free Press, "Big Ten Power Rankings: Michigan football good, but not good enough vs. Ohio State," 2 Dec. 2019 The site rarely hosts sales, and with 20% off everything, and up to 35% off sets, there's no better time to buy. Staff, CNN Underscored, "Cyber Monday 2019: 100+ of the best deals you can start shopping now," 1 Dec. 2019 The Nets’ season opened with Irving scoring 50 points against Minnesota, a spectacular performance that rarely involved his teammates. Bruce Jenkins, SFChronicle.com, "Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and the Nets: The story is in street clothes," 30 Nov. 2019 Jimmy shoots 20 percent from deep and DeRozan rarely attempts. Ira Winderman, sun-sentinel.com, "ASK IRA: Would DeMar DeRozan, LaMarcus Aldridge make sense for Heat?," 28 Nov. 2019 Waxman, who rarely endorses specific bills, penned an op-ed last month endorsing Pelosi’s legislation. Lev Facher, STAT, "How a billionaire couple greased the skids for Nancy Pelosi’s drug pricing bill," 26 Nov. 2019 In real life, Queen Elizabeth II has rarely been seen crying in public during her reign, which has led royal fans to wonder...does the Queen cry at all? Marie Claire, "The Queen Does Cry, Even If 'The Crown' Makes You Think Otherwise," 16 Nov. 2019 But Serena Williams, one of the most successful female athletes in the world, is giving voice to an issue rarely talked about. CBS News, "Serena Williams raises awareness about financial abuse," 31 Oct. 2019

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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Time Traveler for rarely

Time Traveler

The first known use of rarely was in 1549

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Statistics for rarely

Last Updated

6 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Rarely.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rarely. Accessed 8 December 2019.

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More Definitions for rarely


How to pronounce rarely (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of rarely

: not very often


rare·​ly | \ ˈrer-lē How to pronounce rarely (audio) \

Kids Definition of rarely

: not often I rarely go.

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More from Merriam-Webster on rarely

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for rarely

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with rarely

Spanish Central: Translation of rarely

Nglish: Translation of rarely for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of rarely for Arabic Speakers

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).


to constrict the range or activity of

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