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 This situation has rarely, if ever, been seen in U.S. history: a president who was voted out of office after only one term by a relatively wide margin in both the popular vote and Electoral College, yet is still popular among his own party. David Paleologos, USA TODAY, "Paleologos on the Poll: Inauguration Day isn't the end of the Trump era. It's just the beginning.," 17 Jan. 2021 The Chiefs rarely have three linebackers on the field, and often switch between nickel (see below) and dime looks. Scott Patsko, cleveland, "Browns vs. Chiefs: A position-by-position look at grades and how they match up," 16 Jan. 2021 The shift rarely has any effect on policy, but the voters tend to command more public attention than nonvoters because their dissents are formally recorded. Michael S. Derby, WSJ, "Fed’s Rate-Setting Panel Gets New Members Amid Uncertain Outlook," 30 Dec. 2020 But rarely have these radical movements openly and without apologies made such inroads into and inside government and the establishment as during the past decade. Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, "Where Did the New Mad Left Come From?," 15 Dec. 2020 Customers who rely on online banking might rarely have cause to visit a Chase branch. Patrick Rucker, ProPublica, "JPMorgan Chase Bank Wrongly Charged 170,000 Customers Overdraft Fees. Federal Regulators Refused to Penalize It.," 14 Dec. 2020 But rarely, if ever, have so many lives depended so directly on the project of persuasion, empathy, and understanding. Dhruv Khullar, The New Yorker, "The Deadly Cost of America’s Pandemic Politics," 8 Dec. 2020 But rarely have real lesbian bars appeared on screen, on travel shows or beyond. Melissa Kravitz Hoeffner, Condé Nast Traveler, "America's Lesbian Bars Are Dwindling—This Project Wants to Change That," 7 Dec. 2020 In fact, rarely has the season-opening lineup been the season-closing lineup. Ira Winderman, sun-sentinel.com, "ASK IRA: Will Spoelstra’s stylings take on a different look?," 6 Dec. 2020

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

24 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Rarely.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/rarely. Accessed 27 Jan. 2021.

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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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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).


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