Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

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

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adv. By a small margin.
  • adv. Almost not at all.
  • adv. merely.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adv. Without covering; nakedly.
  • adv. Without concealment or disguise.
  • adv. Merely; only.
  • adv. But just; without any excess; with nothing to spare (of quantity, time, etc.); hence, scarcely; hardly.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Nakedly; openly; without disguise or concealment.
  • Scantily; poorly: as, a man barely clad, or a room barely furnished.
  • Only just; no more than; with nothing over or to spare: as, she is barely sixteen.
  • Merely; only.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adv. in a sparse or scanty way
  • adv. only a very short time before

Etymologies

bare +‎ -ly (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Haven't we all become narcissists to an extent that the term barely means anything?

    Heather Donahue: Sundance 2012: Sleepwalk With Me

  • His eyes darkened, his expression barely controlled.

    My Fair Succubi

  • “Ready,” T echoed, the word barely more than a rush of air.

    Kiss & Break Up

  • Though the label barely survived the "grunge" era, its track record in indie rock remains strong.

    Name Dropper

  • The word barely scratches the surface where Lindy was concerned.

    Moments in Time

  • But can he really be called the world's greatest when his name barely registers in public consciousness outside his own country?

    BBC News - Home

  • The people at our label barely even knew any of us in the band.

    ɘloЯ

  • The word "barely" is often used to indicate that something just happened, as in: "I barely got out of the hospital."

    News - latimes.com

  • ** "The Sharpshooters" (a term barely known until nearly the CW) carrying rifles (while they show a doglock being held by a frontiersmen) ... and then claim they had the advantage of batonets

    Southern Maryland Community Forums

  • Before long it became a battle for second place, with one title barely beating out the others!

    Destructoid

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