hardly

hardly
[[t]hɑ͟ː(r)dli[/t]]
♦♦
1) ADV-BRD-NEG: ADV before v, ADV group, oft ADV amount (emphasis) You use hardly to modify a statement when you want to emphasize that it is only a small amount or detail which makes it true, and that therefore it is best to consider the opposite statement as being true.

I hardly know you...

Nick, on the sofa, hardly slept...

He was given hardly 24 hours to pack his bags...

Their two faces were hardly more than eighteen inches apart.

Syn:
scarcely, barely
2) ADV-BRD-NEG: ADV ever/any You use hardly in expressions such as hardly ever, hardly any, and hardly anyone to mean almost never, almost none, or almost no-one.

We ate chips every night, but hardly ever had fish...

Most of the others were so young they had hardly any experience...

Hardly anyone slept that night.

Syn:
3) ADV-BRD-NEG: ADV n (emphasis) You use hardly before a negative statement in order to emphasize that something is usually true or usually happens.

Hardly a day goes by without a visit from someone.

Syn:
4) ADV-BRD-NEG: can/could ADV inf (emphasis) When you say you can hardly do something, you are emphasizing that it is very difficult for you to do it.

I can hardly believe it's been over eight years since you used to go camping at Cedar Creek...

My garden was covered with so many butterflies that I could hardly see the flowers.

Syn:
5) ADV-BRD-NEG: ADV before v If you say hardly had one thing happened when something else happened, you mean that the first event was followed immediately by the second.

He had hardly collected the papers on his desk when the door burst open...

Hardly had he returned to London than an anonymous well-wisher called to say he was about to be raided by Customs & Excise.

Syn:
no sooner
6) ADV-BRD-NEG: ADV before v, ADV group You use hardly to mean `not' when you want to suggest that you are expecting your listener or reader to agree with your comment.

We have not seen the letter, so we can hardly comment on it...

It's hardly surprising his ideas didn't catch on...

The growth rate for 1980-89 was 2.2%. Hardly the stuff of economic miracles.

7) CONVENTION You use `hardly' to mean `no', especially when you want to express surprise or annoyance at a statement that you disagree with. [SPOKEN]

`They all thought you were marvellous!' - `Well, hardly.'...

`We could almost have seen it,' - `Hardly, darling - in the dark and from a distance of a good hundred feet?'


English dictionary. 2008.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Hardly — Hard ly (h[aum]rd l[y^]), adv. [AS. heardlice. See {Hard}.] [1913 Webster] 1. In a hard or difficult manner; with difficulty. [1913 Webster] Recovering hardly what he lost before. Dryden. [1913 Webster] 2. Unwillingly; grudgingly. [1913 Webster]… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • hardly — (adv.) c.1200, in a hard manner, with great exertion or effort, from O.E. heardlic stern, severe, harsh; bold, warlike (see HARD (Cf. hard) + LY (Cf. ly) (2)). Hence assuredly, certainly (early 14c.). Main modern sense of barely, just (1540s)… …   Etymology dictionary

  • hardly — [härd′lē] adv. [ME hardliche < OE heardlice] 1. Now Rare a) with effort or difficulty b) severely; harshly 2. only just; barely; scarcely: often used ironically or politely to mean “not quite,” or “not at all” [hardly the person to ask] 3.… …   English World dictionary

  • hardly — [adv] scarcely; with difficulty almost inconceivably, almost not, barely, by a hair, by no means, comparatively, detectably, faintly, gradually, imperceptibly, infrequently, just, little, no more than, not a bit, not at all, not by much, not… …   New thesaurus

  • hardly — ► ADVERB 1) scarcely; barely. 2) only with great difficulty. 3) no or not (suggesting surprise at or disagreement with a statement) …   English terms dictionary

  • hardly — adverb 1 almost not: I hadn t seen him for years but he had hardly changed at all. | can/could hardly do sth: The children were so excited they could hardly speak. | I can hardly believe it. | hardly anyone/anything (=almost no one or almost… …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English

  • hardly — hard|ly W2S2 [ˈha:dli US ˈha:rdli] adv 1.) almost not ▪ My parents divorced when I was six, and I hardly knew my father. ▪ The children were so excited they could hardly speak. ▪ I can hardly believe it. ▪ Hardly anyone (=almost no one) writes to …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • hardly — hard|ly [ hardli ] adverb *** Hardly is a negative word and is often used with words like any and ever, but it should not be used with other negative words: We hardly ever do anything interesting. Hardly comes before the main verb of a sentence,… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • hardly */*/*/ — UK [ˈhɑː(r)dlɪ] / US [ˈhɑrdlɪ] adverb Summary: Hardly is a negative word and is often used with words like any and ever , but it should not be used with other negative words: We hardly ever do anything interesting. Hardly comes before the main… …   English dictionary

  • hardly — 01. They [hardly] ever go out; maybe once a month at most. 02. I [hardly] recognized you with your new haircut. 03. My daughter can [hardly] remember Quebec City because she was very little when we lived there. 04. Your father [hardly] slept at… …   Grammatical examples in English

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