1 almost not or almost none at all [= hardly]:
The city had scarcely changed in 20 years.
The country had scarcely any industry.
He scarcely ever left the region.
can/could scarcely do something
It was getting dark and she could scarcely see in front of her.
scarcely a day/year/moment etc
Scarcely a day goes by when I don't think of him.
see usage note rarely
2 only a moment ago [= hardly, barely]:
He had scarcely sat down when there was a knock at the door.
3 definitely not or almost certainly not [= hardly]:
Early March is scarcely the time of year for sailing.

rarely, seldom, hardly, scarcely
Rarely and seldom both mean 'not often'. Seldom is more formal or literary People rarely ask questions. She was seldom seen in public. The disease is rarely fatal. Hardly and scarcely both mean 'almost not' or 'only just'. For example, if you hardly had time to do something, you almost did not have time. Scarcely is more formal or literary I hardly had time to ask her name. We had scarcely arrived when he asked us to leave. Hardly and scarcely can also be used with 'ever' to mean 'not often, almost never', with 'any' to mean 'very few, almost none' etc I've got hardly any money left. Hardly anyone agreed with her. In speech, it is usual to say that you hardly ever do something, rather than that you rarely do it I hardly ever go to the cinema.See also rarely

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