W2 [ˈreəli US ˈrerli] adv
not often
≠ ↑frequently
She very rarely complains.
This method is rarely used in modern laboratories.
WORD CHOICE: rarely, seldom, hardly, scarcely
Rarely and seldom both mean 'not often'. Seldom is more formal or literary : People rarely ask questions. |She was seldom seen in public. | The disease is rarely fatal.
Hardly and scarcely both mean 'almost not' or 'only just'. For example, if you hardly had time to do something, you almost did not have time. Scarcely is more formal or literary : I hardly had time to ask her name. |We had scarcely arrived when he asked us to leave.
Hardly and scarcely can also be used with 'ever' to mean 'not often, almost never', with 'any' to mean 'very few, almost none' etc : I've got hardly any money left. | Hardly anyone agreed with her.
In speech, it is usual to say that you hardly ever do something, rather than that you rarely do it : I hardly ever go to the cinema.

Dictionary of contemporary English. 2013.


Look at other dictionaries:

  • rarely — rarely, seldom It is acceptable to say rarely if ever or seldom if ever but not (except informally) rarely ever or seldom ever: We rarely if ever go out / ☒ We rarely ever go out. In the second example, hardly ever or scarcely ever could be… …   Modern English usage

  • Rarely — Rare ly (r[^a]r l[y^]), adv. 1. In a rare manner or degree; seldom; not often; as, things rarely seen. [1913 Webster] 2. Finely; excellently; with rare skill. See 3d {Rare}, 2. [1913 Webster] The person who played so rarely on the flageolet. Sir… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • rarely — from RARE (Cf. rare) (adj.1) + LY (Cf. ly) (2) …   Etymology dictionary

  • rarely — [adv] not often; exceptionally almost never, barely, extra, extraordinarily, extremely, finely, hardly, hardly ever, infrequently, little, notably, now and then, once in a while, once in blue moon*, on rare occasions, remarkably, scarcely ever,… …   New thesaurus

  • rarely — ► ADVERB ▪ not often; seldom …   English terms dictionary

  • rarely — [rer′lē] adv. 1. infrequently; seldom 2. beautifully, skillfully, excellently, etc. 3. uncommonly; exceptionally …   English World dictionary

  • rarely — [[t]re͟ə(r)li[/t]] ♦♦♦ ADV BRD NEG: ADV before v, ADV with cl/group If something rarely happens, it does not happen very often. They battled against other Indian tribes, but rarely fought with the whites... I very rarely wear a raincoat because I …   English dictionary

  • rarely — adv. Rarely is used with these adjectives: ↑fatal, ↑used Rarely is used with these verbs: ↑appear, ↑cry, ↑encounter, ↑exceed, ↑feature, ↑grant, ↑impinge, ↑last, ↑match, ↑ …   Collocations dictionary

  • rarely — rare|ly [ rerli ] adverb *** not often: a performance using rarely heard instruments from around the world My mother very rarely wears jewelry …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • rarely — adverb not often: She very rarely complains. | This method is rarely used in modern laboratories. see rare …   Longman dictionary of contemporary English

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