Definitions

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

  • adv. Not often; infrequently: "The truth is rarely pure and never simple” ( Oscar Wilde).
  • adv. In an unusual degree; exceptionally.
  • adv. With uncommon excellence.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adv. In a rare manner or degree; seldom; not often.
  • adv. Finely; excellently; with rare skill. See 3d Rare, 2.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Seldom; not often: as, things rarely seen.
  • Finely, excellently; remarkably well; with a rare excellence.
  • In excellent health: in quasi-adjective use. Compare purely in like use.
  • So as to be underdone or only partially cooked: said of meats: as, a roast of beef rarely cooked.

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

  • adv. not often

Etymologies

From rare +‎ -ly. (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • Both the Old Testament and the New Testament are unequivocal in their condemnation of homosexual sex, of fornication a term rarely used anymore, of adultery.

    HOW EVIL WORKS

  • "Discerning palate" is a term rarely used in describing our teenager's dining preferences, unless by discerning one means whether the boy decided to put cheese or ketchup on something or not.

    All Stories

  • He described himself as a moderate conservative, a term rarely heard at a convention that draws crowds of GOP officials, radio personalities, advocacy groups and political vendors.

    The Seattle Times

  • It was exciting, and “cure” was a word rarely heard back then in medical oncology.

    Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Cancer Book

  • I don't know what it is about energy and our use of it that inspires so many euphemisms, but "peak oil" is a term rarely used in the mainstream, corporate media.

    Kelpie Wilson: Preface to a Prelude to Peak Oil

  • EA clarifies: a single copy of a title rarely gets placed face-out because it sits too far back on the shelf and is shadowed.

    Archive 2008-05-01

  • While the Times may have published a reasonable number, its headline read "several," a term rarely applied to 158.

    We Won't Go

  • Luxury is a term rarely associated with the Western Bulldogs, too often the AFL's battlers.

    Latest News - Yahoo!7 News

  • Modesty is a term rarely associated with luxury loving billionaires.

    Luxurylaunches.com

  • Sydney Swans find new set of wings PULSATING is a term rarely used to describe Sydney.

    AustralianIT.com.au | Top Stories

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