scarce·​ly | \ ˈskers-lē How to pronounce scarcely (audio) \

Definition of scarcely

1a : by a narrow margin : only just had scarcely rung the bell when the door flew open— Agnes S. Turnbull
b : almost not could scarcely see for the fog
2a : certainly not could scarcely interfere
b : probably not there could scarcely have been found a leader better equipped— V. L. Parrington

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Examples of scarcely in a Sentence

He could scarcely control his joy. Scarcely a day goes by when they don't see or talk to each other. He had scarcely enough money. This is scarcely a time to laugh. I could scarcely tell them they were wrong.
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Recent Examples on the Web Yet Posey scarcely gave that a thought after the premature arrival of he and wife Kristen's adopted twins, who were hospitalized in a neonatal intensive care unit after birth. Gabe Lacques, USA TODAY, "Buster Posey opts back into baseball after a diaper-flinging, reflective 2020: 'It's great to be back'," 18 Feb. 2021 Anti-fraud technology is a business that the company’s leaders would scarcely have imagined being in when Friedman joined as an intern back in 1993. Shawn Tully, Fortune, "Nasdaq at 50: The company behind the tech-heavy stock index reinvents itself as a financial-tech heavyweight," 8 Feb. 2021 In 2020, Hungary's hospitality sector shrunk by $1.4 billion, and scarcely more than a quarter of the $68 million set aside by the government for wage assistance to restaurateurs has been delivered to date. Justin Spike, Star Tribune, "Hungarian restaurant workers protest lockdown restrictions," 31 Jan. 2021 Today, a scarcely less miraculous scene is unfolding. The Economist, "A successful vaccination drive is crucial to Boris Johnson’s government," 23 Jan. 2021 Like the frog in the slowly boiling pot of water, Americans have scarcely perceived the buildup of China's hard and soft power. Washington Examiner Staff, Washington Examiner, "China vs US: A building threat," 22 Jan. 2021 France did not officially denote the fighting that led to Algeria’s independence as an actual war until 1999, and government initiatives to construct a memory of the traumatic period have scarcely gone beyond official discourse since then. New York Times, "Report Aims at ‘Reconciling’ France and Algeria, Its Former Colony," 20 Jan. 2021 The labels have scarcely changed since the winery’s inception and still have an old-fashioned air about them. Esther Mobley,, "With the big Williams Selyem deal, a California wine icon aims to avoids a common fate: a soulless private equity future," 14 Jan. 2021 These days, Amanda Salinas scarcely has time to catch her breath., "Express Briefing: S.A. companies’ gear popular with Capitol rioters," 18 Jan. 2021

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

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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Time Traveler for scarcely

Time Traveler

The first known use of scarcely was in the 14th century

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Statistics for scarcely

Last Updated

24 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Scarcely.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for scarcely



English Language Learners Definition of scarcely

: almost not at all
: by only a small amount of time, space, etc.
: certainly not


scarce·​ly | \ ˈskers-lē \

Kids Definition of scarcely

1 : only just : barely They had scarcely enough to eat.
2 : certainly not I could scarcely tell him he was wrong.

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