Definition of fairly adverb from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˈfeəli//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈferli//
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  1. 1  (before adjectives and adverbs) to some extent but not very a fairly easy book a fairly typical reaction I know him fairly well, but I wouldn't say we were really close friends. I go jogging fairly regularly. We'll have to leave fairly soon (= before very long). I'm fairly certain I can do the job. The report was fairly incomprehensible. I think you'll find it fairly difficult (= you do not want to say that it is very difficult). Which Word?quite / fairly / rather / prettyLook at these examples: The exam was fairly difficult. The exam was quite difficult. The exam was rather difficult. Quite is a little stronger than fairly, and rather is a little stronger than quite. Rather is not very common in North American English; pretty has the same meaning and this is used in informal British English too:The exam was pretty difficult. In British English quite has two meanings:I feel quite tired today(= fairly tired). With adjectives that describe an extreme state (‘non-gradable’ adjectives) it means ‘completely’ or ‘absolutely’:I feel quite exhausted. With some adjectives, both meanings are possible. The speaker’s stress and intonation will show you which is meant:Your essay is quite good(= fairly good—it could be better);Your essay is quite good(= very good, especially when this is unexpected). In North American English quite usually means something like ‘very’, not ‘fairly’ or ‘rather’. Pretty is used instead for this sense.
  2. 2  in a fair and reasonable way; honestly He has always treated me very fairly. Her attitude could fairly be described as hostile.
  3. 3(old-fashioned) used to emphasize something that you are saying The time fairly raced by.
  4. Extra examples He’s always treated me very fairly. It’s fairly clear that there is still room for improvement. That’s a fairly typical reaction. The plants are fairly easy to grow. The software is fairly easy to use.Idioms = fair and square
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: fairly

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