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TOEFL BNC: 1135 COCA: 1741

hardly

hardly /ˈhɑɚdli/ adverb
hardly
/ˈhɑɚdli/
adverb
Learner's definition of HARDLY
: barely, scarcely used to say that something was almost not possible or almost did not happen几乎不(可能)
: almost not at all几乎一点也不
: almost not几乎没有
used to say that something reached a specified condition or happened only a short time before刚…就…
: certainly not一点也不

hardly ever

see ever
TOEFL BNC: 1135 COCA: 1741

hardly

adverb

hard·​ly ˈhärd-lē How to pronounce hardly (audio)
1
a
used to emphasize a minimal amount or degree
I hardly knew her. [=I didn't know her well at all.]It's almost new—there's hardly a scratch [=there are almost no scratches] on it.There's been hardly any [=almost no] news.There's hardly any [=almost none] left.Hardly anyone [=almost no one] showed up.We hardly ever [=almost never] see you these days!
b
: by a narrow margin of time : only just
We've hardly begun.
c
: almost not
I can hardly believe it!
She was hardly able to control her excitement.
d
: certainly not
That news is hardly surprising.
That hardly seems fair. [=that certainly does not seem fair]
If you're satisfied with what you've got, you're hardly going to look for anything better. Flannery O'Connor
e
informal
used to soften a negative
… you can't hardly tell who anyone is or isn't. George Bernard Shaw
2
dated : with difficulty : painfully
… where the means of existence was wrung so hardly from the soil … Sir Winston Churchill
3
dated : in a severe manner : harshly
Things may go hardly with us … before the war is over. Nevil Shute
… he ranted on in a towering passion of wrath and grief. … He believed himself hardly used indeed. E. Barrington (Elizabeth Louisa Moresby Beck)
4
archaic : with force : vigorously
… earrings jangling down hardly on diminutive gold chains … Osbert Sitwell
Can hardly be used with a negative?: Usage Guide

Hardly in sense 1d is used sometimes with not for emphasis.

Just another day at the office? Not hardly.

In sense 1e with a negative verb (such as can't, wouldn't, didn't) it does not make a double negative but softens the negative. In "you can't hardly find a red one," the sense is that you can find a red one, but only with difficulty; in "you can't find a red one," the sense is that red ones are simply not available. Use of hardly with a negative verb is a speech form; it is most commonly heard in Southern and Midland speech areas. In other speech areas and in all discursive prose, hardly is normally used with a positive.

You can hardly find a red one.

Example Sentences

It hardly matters what I think. The changes in service have hardly been noticed. There are hardly any new features in this software. Hardly anyone showed up for the meeting. Hardly a day goes by when I don't think about you. This is hardly a new idea for a movie. “Is this a new idea for a movie?” “Hardly! I've seen dozens of movies just like it.” See More
Recent Examples on the Web His office has received 64 public records requests — more than in the previous three years combined — even though the results there were hardly in dispute: Joe Biden walloped Trump 72% to 26%. Los Angeles Times, 16 Sep. 2022 But London is hardly the only problem facing the Rams, who had three extra days to contemplate the disappointment of their season-opening blowout loss to Buffalo on the NFL's opening night. Greg Beacham, ajc, 15 Sep. 2022 James is hardly the only one investigating Trump, whose final weeks in office are under the microscope in at least three separate criminal investigations. Ben Protess, BostonGlobe.com, 15 Sep. 2022 Meloni is hardly the first to relish political combat. Stefano Pitrelli, Washington Post, 13 Sep. 2022 Every manufacturer is aiming for Tesla in the automobile industry, which is hardly surprising given how quickly Tesla had grown into the poster child for electrification. Q.ai - Powering A Personal Wealth Movement, Forbes, 25 Aug. 2022 Of course, such contributions are hardly surprising. Ed Silverman, STAT, 12 Aug. 2022 More homers: That the Yankees (45) and Astros (42) entered Saturday with the most home runs among AL teams in July was hardly surprising — both are leading their divisions. Matt Kawahara, San Francisco Chronicle, 30 July 2022 From a sports-science perspective, that is hardly surprising. New York Times, 14 July 2022 See More

Word History

First Known Use

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 4

Time Traveler
The first known use of hardly was before the 12th century
TOEFL BNC: 1135 COCA: 1741

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