Definition of narrowly in English:


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  • 1By only a small margin; barely.

    ‘they were narrowly defeated in the final’
    • ‘he narrowly defeated Anderson to win a 12th term in office’
    • ‘He made to swipe me with the bottle, narrowly missing my face and catching me in the shoulder instead.’
    • ‘Later, she claimed, two further women in her party were narrowly missed by a Land Rover.’
    • ‘He's leading in New Hampshire narrowly or within the margin of run of most polls.’
    • ‘A Nissan Micra came screeching off the eastbound carriageway, narrowly missed their patrol car, and rolled up the bank into a field.’
    • ‘A two-inch nut shattered the window and showered glass into the vehicle as it pulled up outside the school, narrowly missing pupils.’
    • ‘Several of the larger branches I was concerned about are now sitting on the lawn (one narrowly missed a car as it came down).’
    • ‘Last year she narrowly missed capturing a new time by just 75 minutes.’
    • ‘Police were also called to a building in Northgate in Wakefield city centre after the wind blew off part of the roof, narrowly missing a pedestrian.’
    • ‘The horse in its flight narrowly missed two telephone poles, but knocked over the bucket of water with which a woman was cleaning the front steps of her house.’
    • ‘Several windows have been smashed with what is believed to be an airgun; and on one occasion shards of glass narrowly missed one of the tenants.’
    • ‘In addition, an almost simultaneous missile attack narrowly missed an airliner taking off nearby.’
    • ‘He cast his line three times, missing narrowly each time.’
    • ‘A Swindon schoolgirl who narrowly missed out on getting top prize in a national spelling competition says she is determined to win next year.’
    • ‘A mother believes her toddler escaped serious injury after he narrowly missed swallowing a piece of metal buried in a burger.’
    • ‘As the learner driver began to pull over, the man continued crossing the road but the BMW driver pulled out, narrowly missing him.’
    • ‘As sure a putter as there is in the game, he narrowly missed five putts from inside 10 ft in the first 13 holes in the final round.’
    • ‘The ninety mile per hour fastball narrowly missed his head as the young black superstar dropped to the dirt.’
    • ‘On a road whose width barely allows two cars to pass, this lunatic came hurtling round a blind corner, narrowly missing me.’
    • ‘Finally the competition went to sudden death, when the Baltinglass team missed winning the title narrowly.’
    • ‘One of his friends, Michael, had his jaw broken and narrowly missed losing an eye, such was the savagery of the attack.’
    only just, just, barely, scarcely, hardly, by a hair's breadth, by a very small margin, by the narrowest of margins, by the skin of one's teeth, by a nose
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  • 2Closely or carefully.

    ‘he was looking at her narrowly’
    • ‘In addition, our attention becomes more narrowly focused on the physical source of our pleasure.’
    • ‘Tim watched Anna narrowly as her attention and her hands wandered below his waist.’
    • ‘She scanned the baby narrowly, then looked as searchingly at Sandra, whose face was turned to gaze across the fields.’
    closely, carefully, searchingly, scrutinizingly, attentively
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  • 3In a limited or restricted way.

    ‘narrowly defined tasks’
    • ‘It's just that their conception of what constitutes support is limited very narrowly to career advancement.’
    • ‘They get to control it, for a limited time and it should be more narrowly limited than it is right now.’
    • ‘Terrorism must be defined far more narrowly than in this proposal.’
    • ‘He argued that all the applicable statutes and treaty obligations can be read in such a way as to define torture very narrowly.’
    • ‘The grounds for judicial review may be defined more narrowly than that.’
    • ‘Humanity is narrowly defined and that is one of our strengths.’
    • ‘Timeshare law is too narrowly defined, so it excludes contracts of less than 36 months or timeshare on boats.’
    • ‘Thirty or so years later we find much of the programming is rather narrowly defined ideologically.’
    • ‘Well, rock music, itself a fairly narrow subsection of popular music, is being as narrowly and erroneously defined as religion here.’
    • ‘The answer to this question depends on how narrowly we define the term.’
    • ‘They not only define the problem narrowly, but also the solution.’
    • ‘But historically torture has most often been defined more narrowly, as an aspect of legal systems or of state repression.’
    • ‘Thus, if there is no class which is defined sufficiently narrowly, it is impossible for the court to craft common issues.’
    • ‘Now, though, country defines its influences so narrowly it almost seems inbred.’
    • ‘Some analysts contend they should not be, at least under narrowly defined circumstances.’
    • ‘It was not just established states that were eager narrowly to define the right of self-determination as a right end colonial status.’
    • ‘The event marker used to qualify clinical segments as softening events may be too narrowly defined.’
    • ‘Debriefing can also be more narrowly defined in terms of the procedures used, the information provided and the target population.’
    • ‘Perfectionists live in a narrowly defined world in which they feel empowered.’
    • ‘The law should then be tailored carefully and narrowly in an attempt to deal with those consequences or abuses.’



/ˈnerōlē/ /ˈnɛroʊli/