Meaning of “scarcely” in the English Dictionary

"scarcely" in British English

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uk /ˈskeə us /ˈ

scarcely adverb (ONLY JUST)

C2 almost not:

I was scarcely able to move my arm after the accident.
I could scarcely believe it when she said she wanted to marry me.

used to say that something happened immediately after something else happened:

I had scarcely sat down/Scarcely had I sat down to eat when the phone rang.

More examples

  • I scarcely registered the fact that he was there.
  • I scarcely heard him laugh all night.
  • The city centre has scarcely changed in over a century.
  • She spoke so quietly that I could scarcely hear her.
  • By this time he was so drunk he could scarcely stand up.

(Definition of “scarcely” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"scarcely" in American English

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scarcelyadverb [ not gradable ]

us /ˈskeərs·li/

scarcely adverb [ not gradable ] (ONLY JUST)

only just or almost not:

I could scarcely move my arm after the accident.

scarcely adverb [ not gradable ] (NOT)

fml certainly not:

He would scarcely have broken it on purpose.

(Definition of “scarcely” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)