hardly

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From hard +‎ ly.

Pronunciation[edit]

Adverb[edit]

hardly (comparative more hardly, superlative most hardly)

  1. (manner, obsolete) Firmly, vigorously, with strength or exertion.
    • 1603, John Florio, translating Michel de Montaigne, Essays, Folio Society 2006, vol. 1 p. 148:
      Let him hardly be possest with an honest curiositie to search out the nature and causes of all things [...].
  2. (manner, archaic) Harshly, severely.
    I can't really deal hardly with people.
  3. (now rare) With difficulty.
    • 1603, John Florio, translating Michel de Montaigne, Essays, Folio Society 2006, vol. 1, p. 234:
      And what gentle flame soever doth warme the heart of young virgins, yet are they hardly drawne to leave and forgoe their mothers, to betake them to their husbands [...].
    • 1977, John Le Carré, The Honourable Schoolboy, Folio Society 2010, p. 40:
      While in Chelsea, Anne Smiley pined, taking very hardly to her unaccustomed role of wife abandoned.
  4. (degree) Barely, only just, almost not.
    • 2011 November 3, David Ornstein, “Macc Tel-Aviv 1-2 Stoke”, BBC Sport:
      With this the second of three games in seven days for Stoke, it was hardly surprising to see nine changes from the side that started against Newcastle in the Premier League on Monday.
    • 2013 July 6, “The rise of smart beta”, The Economist, volume 408, number 8843, page 68: 
      Investors face a quandary. Cash offers a return of virtually zero in many developed countries; government-bond yields may have risen in recent weeks but they are still unattractive. Equities have suffered two big bear markets since 2000 and are wobbling again. It is hardly surprising that pension funds, insurers and endowments are searching for new sources of return.
    they hardly ever watch television;  I hardly think they'll come in this bad weather;  it's hardly possible he could lose the election.

Usage notes[edit]

In the sense "barely", it is grammatically a negative word. It therefore collocates with ever rather than never.

  • Compare example sentence with I almost never watch television

Synonyms[edit]

Translations[edit]

The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Help:How to check translations.

Interjection[edit]

hardly

  1. Not really.
    I think the Beatles are a really overrated band. ― Hardly!

Statistics[edit]