Something barely there is hardly there at all. So a barely dressed person is nearly naked.

Barely is a word meaning hardly, nearly, scarcely, or marginally. If there is barely a dusting of snow, there is hardly any snow at all. If your team barely won a game, then they came really close to losing. A person who is barely dressed is scantily dressed: hardly dressed at all. If you barely missed an ice cream truck, then you missed it by seconds. This is a word for near misses and close calls.

Definitions of barely

adv in a sparse or scanty way

“a barely furnished room”

adv only a very short time before

“they could barely hear the speaker”
hardly, just, scarce, scarcely

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