What does hardly mean?

Definitions for hardly
ˈhɑrd lihard·ly

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word hardly.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. barely, hardly, just, scarcely, scarceadverb

    only a very short time before

    "they could barely hear the speaker"; "we hardly knew them"; "just missed being hit"; "had scarcely rung the bell when the door flew open"; "would have scarce arrived before she would have found some excuse to leave"- W.B.Yeats

  2. hardly, scarcelyadverb

    almost not

    "he hardly ever goes fishing"; "he was hardly more than sixteen years old"; "they scarcely ever used the emergency generator"


  1. hardlyadverb

    Firmly, vigorously, with strength or exertion.

  2. hardlyadverb

    Harshly, severely.

    I can't really deal hardly with people.

  3. hardlyadverb

    With difficulty.

  4. hardlyadverb

    Barely, only just, almost not.

  5. hardlyinterjection

    Not really.

    I think the Beatles are a really overrated band. uE000138303uE001 Hardly!

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Hardlyadverb

    Etymology: from hard.

    For the most part it so falleth out, touching things which generally are received, that although in themselves they be most certain, yet, because men presume them granted of all, we are hardiest able to bring such proof of their certainty as may satisfy gainsayers, when suddenly and besides expectation they require the same at our hands. Richard Hooker, b. v. s. 2.

    There are but a few, and they endued with great ripeness of wit and judgment, free from all such affairs as might trouble their meditations, instructed in the sharpest and subtlest points of learning; who have, and that very hardly, been able to find out but only the immortality of the soul. Richard Hooker.

    God hath delivered a law as sharp as the two-edged sword, piercing the very closest and most unsearchable corners of the heart, which the law of nature can hardly, human laws by no means, possibly reach unto. Richard Hooker, b. i.

    There are in living creatures parts that nourish and repair easily, and parts that nourish and repair hardly. Francis Bacon.

    The barks of those trees are more close and soft than those of oaks and ashes, whereby the moss can the hardlier issue out. Francis Bacon, Natural History.

    False confidence is easily taken up, and hardly laid down. Robert South, Sermons.

    The father, mother, daughter they invite;
    Hardly the dame was drawn to this repast. Dryden.

    Recov’ring hardly what he lost before,
    His right endears it much, his purchase more. Dryden.

    The fish that once was caught, new bait will hardly bite. Fairy Queen, b. ii. cant. 1.

    They are worn, lord consul, so
    That we shall hardly in our ages see
    Their banners wave again. William Shakespeare, Coriolanus.

    Hardly shall you find any one so bad, but he desires the credit of being thought good. Robert South, Sermons.

    The wand’ring breath was on the wing to part,
    Weak was the pulse, and hardly heav’d the heart. Dryden.

    There is hardly a gentleman in the nation who hath not a near alliance with some of that body. Jonathan Swift.

    If I unwittingly
    Have aught committed that is hardly borne
    By any in this presence, I desire
    To reconcile me. William Shakespeare, Richard III.

    If there are some reasons inducing you to think hardly of our laws, are those reasons demonstrative, are they necessary, or meer possibilities only? Richard Hooker, Preface.

    Many men believed that he was hardly dealt with. Edward Hyde.

    They are now in prison, and treated hardly enough; for there are fifteen dead within two years. Joseph Addison, on Italy.

    They have begun to say, and to fetch instances, where he has in many things been hardly used. Jonathan Swift.

    Such information, even from those who have authority over them, comes very hardly and harshly to a grown man; and, however softened, goes but ill down. John Locke.

    Heav’n was her canopy, bare earth her bed;
    So hardly lodg’d. Dryden.


  1. hardly

    Hardly is an adverb that typically means only just, almost not, or with great difficulty. It is often used to express that something is very unlikely, rare, or only happened or exists to a very small extent.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Hardlyadverb

    in a hard or difficult manner; with difficulty

  2. Hardlyadverb

    unwillingly; grudgingly

  3. Hardlyadverb

    scarcely; barely; not guite; not wholly

  4. Hardlyadverb

    severely; harshly; roughly

  5. Hardlyadverb

    confidently; hardily

  6. Hardlyadverb

    certainly; surely; indeed

  7. Etymology: [AS. heardlice. See Hard.]

British National Corpus

  1. Spoken Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'hardly' in Spoken Corpus Frequency: #1154

  2. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'hardly' in Written Corpus Frequency: #1468

  3. Adverbs Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'hardly' in Adverbs Frequency: #112

How to pronounce hardly?

How to say hardly in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of hardly in Chaldean Numerology is: 7

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of hardly in Pythagorean Numerology is: 5

Examples of hardly in a Sentence

  1. Mark Twain:

    His ignorance covered the whole earth like a blanket, and there was hardly a hole in it anywhere.

  2. Ivan Vrdoljak:

    Southeast Europe can hardly get an alternative gas supply route without Croatia, it is not because we decided so, but because of our location.

  3. Sergei Ryabkov:

    It is hardly a secret that the goal of the sanctions is to create social and economic conditions to carry out a change of power in Russia, there will be no easy or fast way out of this.

  4. Johann von Goethe:

    Love grants in a moment what toil can hardly achieve in an age.

  5. Johann von Goethe:

    The intelligent man finds almost everything ridiculous, the sensible man hardly anything.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for hardly

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

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"hardly." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 1 Dec. 2023. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/hardly>.

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    assist or encourage, usually in some wrongdoing
    • A. fluster
    • B. knead
    • C. excogitate
    • D. abet

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