- hardly; not quite; only just
- probably not or certainly not: scarcely true
The Pattersons scarcely have enough time to connect in the morning but they always make sure to give each other a hug before they head out the door.
- If you arrived and stayed only a minute before you had to leave, this is an example of when youscarcely just arrived.
- If you have just enough food to feed your child but nothing extra, this is an example of when you hadscarcely enough.
- If all scientists agree on something likely to be true, this is an example of when they couldscarcely be wrong.
- By a small margin; barely: We scarcely made it in time.
- Almost not; hardly: We scarcely ever used the reserve generator.
- Certainly not: They could scarcely complain after such good treatment.
Usage Note: Scarcely has the force of a negative and is therefore regarded as incorrectly used with another negative, as in I couldn't scarcely believe it. • A clause following scarcely is properly introduced by when or before ; the use of than is usually changed by copyeditors: The meeting had scarcely begun when (or before but not than ) it was interrupted. See Usage Note at double negative. See Usage Note at hardly.
(comparative more scarcely, superlative most scarcely)
- Julie asked, scarcely above a whisper.
- My teacher is so near to me that I scarcely think of myself apart from her.
- Home affairs were scarcely better managed.
- I can scarcely wait until Thursday next when we will again be in one another's company!
- The tree in England is scarcely hardy, though it will grow freely in some sheltered places.