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Related to barely: barley water, barley


1. By a very little; hardly: could barely see the road in the fog.
2. In a scanty manner; sparsely: a barely furnished room.


1. only just; scarcely: barely enough for their needs.
2. informal not quite; nearly: barely old enough.
3. scantily; poorly: barely furnished.
4. archaic openly
Usage: Since barely, hardly, and scarcely already have negative force, it is redundant to use another negative in the same clause: he had barely had (not he hadn't barely had) time to think; there was scarcely any (not scarcely no) bread left


(ˈbɛər li)

1. scarcely: I had barely enough money.
2. without disguise or concealment; openly.
3. scantily; meagerly.
4. Archaic. merely.
[before 950]
syn: See hardly.
usage: See hardly.


1. 'bare'

Bare is an adjective. If something is bare, it is not covered or decorated with anything.

The room has bare wooden floors.

If a part of the body is bare, it has no clothing.

Meg's feet were bare.
2. 'barely'

Barely is an adverb. It has a totally different meaning from bare. You use barely to say that something is only just true or possible. For example, if you can barely do something, you can only just do it. If something is barely noticeable, you can only just notice it.

It was so dark we could barely see.
His whisper was barely audible.

Be Careful!
Don't use 'not' with barely. Don't say, for example, 'The temperature was not barely above freezing'. You say 'The temperature was barely above freezing'.

Be Careful!
If you use an auxiliary verb or modal with barely, you put the auxiliary verb or modal first. You say, for example, 'He can barely read'. Don't say 'He barely can read'.

The audience could barely hear him.

You can use barely to say that one thing happened immediately after another. For example, you can say 'We had barely started the meal when Jane arrived'.

Be Careful!
You use when or before after barely. Don't use 'than'. Don't say, for example, 'We had barely started the meal than Jane arrived'.

I had barely arrived before he led me to the interview room.
They had barely sat down when they were told to leave.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Adv.1.barely - only a very short time beforebarely - only a very short time before; "they could barely hear the speaker"; "we hardly knew them"; "just missed being hit"; "had scarcely rung the bell when the door flew open"; "would have scarce arrived before she would have found some excuse to leave"- W.B.Yeats
2.barely - in a sparse or scanty waybarely - in a sparse or scanty way; "a barely furnished room"


adverb only just, just, hardly, scarcely, at a push, almost not His voice was barely audible.
completely, amply, fully, profusely


By a very little; almost not:
بِالكاد، بالجُهْدلا يُكَادُ
knapknap nok
hädin tuskin
chỉ vừa đủ


[ˈbɛəlɪ] ADV
1. (= scarcely) → apenas
he can barely readapenas puede leer
he looked around him with barely concealed horrormiró a su alrededor disimulando apenas su horror
there was barely enough room for all of usapenas había sitio para todos nosotros
there was barely anyone thereallí no había casi nadie
I had barely closed the door when the phone rangapenas había cerrado la puerta cuando sonó el teléfono
2. (= scantily) a barely furnished roomuna habitación escasamente amueblada


[ˈbɛərli] adv (= hardly) [audible, visible, perceptible, concealed] → à peine; [see, hear, notice, remember, touch, stand] → à peine
I could barely hear what she was saying → J'entendais à peine ce qu'elle disait.
He was barely breathing → Il respirait à peine.
She was barely sixteen → Elle avait à peine seize ans.
barely half → à peine la moitié


(= scarcely)kaum; (with figures) → knapp, kaum; we barely know himwir kennen ihn kaum; barely had he started when …kaum hatte er angefangen, als …; barely concealed horrorkaum verhohlenes Entsetzen; she was barely ten years oldsie war kaum or knapp zehn Jahre alt
furnisheddürftig, spärlich


[ˈbɛəlɪ] advappena
they had barely enough money → avevano appena denaro a sufficienza
he was so drunk he could barely stand → era così ubriaco che riusciva a malapena a stare in piedi


(beə) adjective
1. uncovered or naked. bare skin; bare floors.
2. empty. bare shelves.
3. of trees etc, without leaves.
4. worn thin. The carpet is a bit bare.
5. basic; essential. the bare necessities of life.
to uncover. The dog bared its teeth in anger.
ˈbarely adverb
scarcely or only just. We have barely enough food.
ˈbareness noun
ˈbareback adverb, adjective
without a saddle. I enjoy riding bareback.
ˈbarefaced adjective
openly impudent. a barefaced lie.
ˈbarefoot(ed) adjective, adverb
not wearing shoes or socks etc. The children go barefoot on the beach.
ˌbareˈheaded adjective, adverb
not wearing a hat etc.


لا يُكَادُ sotva knap kaum μόλις apenas hädin tuskin à peine jedva appena かろうじて 간신히 nauwelijks såvidt zaledwie mal едва knappt เกือบไม่พอ ucu ucuna chỉ vừa đủ 几乎不能
References in classic literature ?
She's barely seventeen, not too old to learn new ways.
The words were barely uttered, when he encountered a savage of gigantic stature, of the fiercest mien.
They had barely crossed the threshold of this treasure-house, to find themselves rich men; what possibilities of affluence might be theirs when they had fully exploited their possessions?
The original and more potent causes, however, lay in the rare perfection of his animal nature, the moderate proportion of intellect, and the very trifling admixture of moral and spiritual ingredients; these latter qualities, indeed, being in barely enough measure to keep the old gentleman from walking on all-fours.
From even the barely hinted imputation of usurpation, and the possible consequences of such a suppressed impression gaining ground, Ahab must of course have been most anxious to protect himself.
But the added power of the boat did not equal the added power of the whale, for he seemed to have treble-banked his every fin; swimming with a velocity which plainly showed, that if now, under these circumstances, pushed on, the chase would prove an indefinitely prolonged, if not a hopeless one; nor could any crew endure for so long a period, such an unintermitted, intense straining at the oar; a thing barely tolerable only in some one brief vicissitude.
She was sick and miserable, and often she would barely have strength enough to drag herself home.
He had blue eyes and flaxen curls like his white comrade, but even the father of the white child was able to tell the children apart--little as he had commerce with them--by their clothes; for the white babe wore ruffled soft muslin and a coral necklace, while the other wore merely a coarse tow-linen shirt which barely reached to its knees, and no jewelry.
He got back home barely in season to help Jim, the small colored boy, saw next-day's wood and split the kindlings before supper -- at least he was there in time to tell his adventures to Jim while Jim did three-fourths of the work.
I suppose I looked like a man who had es- caped a den of wild beasts, and barely escaped them.
Those who can barely live, and who live perforce in a very small, and generally very inferior, society, may well be illiberal and cross.
is desirous of meeting with a situation in a private family where the children are under fourteen (I thought that as I was barely eighteen, it would not do to undertake the guidance of pupils nearer my own age).