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hard·ly / ˈhärdlē/ • adv. 1. scarcely (used to qualify a statement by saying that it is true to an insignificant degree): it is hardly bigger than a credit card. ∎  only a very short time before: the party had hardly started when the police arrived. ∎  only with great difficulty: she could hardly sit up straight. ∎  no or not (suggesting surprise at or disagreement with a statement): I hardly think so. 2. archaic harshly: the rule worked hardly. PHRASES: hardly any almost no: they sold hardly any books. ∎  almost none: hardly any had previous convictions. hardly ever very rarely: we hardly ever see them.

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