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bare +‎ -ly



barely (not comparable)

  1. (degree) By a small margin.
  2. (degree) Almost not at all.
    The plane is so far away now I can barely see it.
    Yes, it is barely visible.
    • 2011 October 23, Phil McNulty, “Man Utd 1 - 6 Man City”, in BBC Sport[1]:
      In contrast to what was to come, City were barely allowed any time to settle on the ball in the opening exchanges, with Ashley Young prominent and drawing heavy fouls from Micah Richards and James Milner.
  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[edit]

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.