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barely

Definition from Dictionary, a free dictionary
It's discouraging to make a mistake, but it's humiliating when you find out you're so unimportant that nobody noticed it.
Chuck Daly
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English

Adverb

barely (not comparable)

Positive
barely

Comparative
not comparable

Superlative
none (absolute)

  1. By a small margin.
    • 1748. David Hume. Enquiries concerning the human understanding and concerning the principles of moral. London: Oxford University Press, 1973. § 8.
      It becomes, therefore, no inconsiderable part of science barely to know the different operations of mind,
  2. Almost not at all.
    The plane is so far away now I can barely see it.
  3. (archaic) merely.
    • 1661, Robert Boyle, The Sceptical Chymist, page 29,
      Now that fire do's not alwayes barely separate the Elementary parts, but sometimes at least alter also the Ingredients of Bodies []

Usage notes

It is grammatically a negative word. It therefore collocates with ever rather than never.

  • Compare You can find barely ever used items on eBay. with You can almost never find used items on eBay.

Synonyms

Translations

Quotations

  • 1925: Walter Anthony and Tom Reed (titles), Rupert Julian (director), The Phantom of the Opera, silent movie
    ‘It is barely possible you may hear of a ghost, a Phantom of the Opera!’

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