scarce·ly | \ ˈskers-lē \

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

Local authorities tended to look the other way when one of the youngsters, whose face could scarcely be seen over the steering wheel, was dispatched via pickup to the feed or farm supply store. James C. Cobb, Smithsonian, "The Pickup Truck’s Transformation From Humble Workhorse to Fancy Toy," 3 July 2018 America spends more than 3% of the world’s biggest GDP on its armed forces, and the rest of the Western world scarcely breaks 2%. Tony Abbott, WSJ, "An Ally Sizes Up Donald Trump," 13 July 2018 Scott has written op-eds and posted numerous times on Twitter about the faults of the Cuba deal, but has scarcely mentioned North Korea as President Donald Trump moved to meet with its dictator, Kim Jong Un, this year. Gray Rohrer,, "Rick Scott, vocal Cuba deal critic, mostly mum on North Korea deal," 12 June 2018 Hernandez scarcely mentions his Mets years at all, writing instead of his struggle to establish himself as an everyday big leaguer. Steve Rushin,, "Keith Hernandez, Lou Piniella Focus on Humanity, Not Glory, in New Memoirs," 16 May 2018 There’s no mumbo jumbo about the Force, no lightsabers, no First Order, and scarcely a mention of the Empire. Christopher Orr, The Atlantic, "Solo: Finally a Star Wars Movie That's Not a Rehash of Star Wars," 15 May 2018 The Trump plan for 2018-2022 scarcely mentions diversity and inclusion, providing only lip service. Joe Davidson, Washington Post, "New OPM chief presses for civil service overhaul, but administration is less interested in diversity," 1 May 2018 Suffredin won 57 percent of the vote in a three-way contest where the issue was scarcely mentioned. Hal Dardick,, "Despite pop tax debacle, Preckwinkle prevails across the board on election night," 23 Mar. 2018 The discovery of several unexpected uses for detachable limbs is scarcely the least ingenious of this movie’s borrowing-and-repurposing gambits. Justin Chang,, "Dwayne Johnson scales the heights in the thrillingly dumb 'Skyscraper'," 11 July 2018

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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Phrases Related to scarcely

hardly/scarcely ever

hardly/scarcely than

Statistics for scarcely

Last Updated

25 Aug 2018

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Time Traveler for scarcely

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

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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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More from Merriam-Webster on scarcely

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for scarcely

Spanish Central: Translation of scarcely

Nglish: Translation of scarcely for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of scarcely for Arabic Speakers

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to make amends

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