hardly
adverb Date: before 12th century 1. with force ; vigorously 2. in a severe manner ; harshly 3. with difficulty ; painfully 4. a. — used to emphasize a minimal amount <
I hardly knew her
>
<
almost new — hardly a scratch on it
>
b. — used to soften a negative <
you can't hardly tell who anyone is — G. B. Shaw
>
5. certainly not <
that news is hardly surprising
>
Usage: Hardly in sense 5 is used sometimes with not for emphasis <
just another day at the office? Not hardly
>
. In sense 4b with a negative verb (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
>
.

New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.

Synonyms:

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Hardly — Hard ly (h[aum]rd l[y^]), adv. [AS. heardlice. See {Hard}.] [1913 Webster] 1. In a hard or difficult manner; with difficulty. [1913 Webster] Recovering hardly what he lost before. Dryden. [1913 Webster] 2. Unwillingly; grudgingly. [1913 Webster]… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • hardly — (adv.) c.1200, in a hard manner, with great exertion or effort, from O.E. heardlic stern, severe, harsh; bold, warlike (see HARD (Cf. hard) + LY (Cf. ly) (2)). Hence assuredly, certainly (early 14c.). Main modern sense of barely, just (1540s)… …   Etymology dictionary

  • hardly — [härd′lē] adv. [ME hardliche < OE heardlice] 1. Now Rare a) with effort or difficulty b) severely; harshly 2. only just; barely; scarcely: often used ironically or politely to mean “not quite,” or “not at all” [hardly the person to ask] 3.… …   English World dictionary

  • hardly — [adv] scarcely; with difficulty almost inconceivably, almost not, barely, by a hair, by no means, comparatively, detectably, faintly, gradually, imperceptibly, infrequently, just, little, no more than, not a bit, not at all, not by much, not… …   New thesaurus

  • hardly — ► ADVERB 1) scarcely; barely. 2) only with great difficulty. 3) no or not (suggesting surprise at or disagreement with a statement) …   English terms dictionary

  • hardly — adverb 1 almost not: I hadn t seen him for years but he had hardly changed at all. | can/could hardly do sth: The children were so excited they could hardly speak. | I can hardly believe it. | hardly anyone/anything (=almost no one or almost… …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English

  • hardly — hard|ly W2S2 [ˈha:dli US ˈha:rdli] adv 1.) almost not ▪ My parents divorced when I was six, and I hardly knew my father. ▪ The children were so excited they could hardly speak. ▪ I can hardly believe it. ▪ Hardly anyone (=almost no one) writes to …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • hardly — hard|ly [ hardli ] adverb *** Hardly is a negative word and is often used with words like any and ever, but it should not be used with other negative words: We hardly ever do anything interesting. Hardly comes before the main verb of a sentence,… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • hardly */*/*/ — UK [ˈhɑː(r)dlɪ] / US [ˈhɑrdlɪ] adverb Summary: Hardly is a negative word and is often used with words like any and ever , but it should not be used with other negative words: We hardly ever do anything interesting. Hardly comes before the main… …   English dictionary

  • hardly — [[t]hɑ͟ː(r)dli[/t]] ♦♦ 1) ADV BRD NEG: ADV before v, ADV group, oft ADV amount (emphasis) You use hardly to modify a statement when you want to emphasize that it is only a small amount or detail which makes it true, and that therefore it is best… …   English dictionary

  • hardly — 01. They [hardly] ever go out; maybe once a month at most. 02. I [hardly] recognized you with your new haircut. 03. My daughter can [hardly] remember Quebec City because she was very little when we lived there. 04. Your father [hardly] slept at… …   Grammatical examples in English

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