Meaning of JUST in English

JUST

INDEX:

just/a short time ago

1. when something happened a short time ago

2. when someone has become a particular age a short time ago

just/almost not

3. when something happens, although it almost did not happen

4. when something bad almost happened, but did not

5. when you do something, but only with difficulty

6. when something is a particular size, amount etc, but no more

RELATED WORDS

almost, but not quite : ↑ ALMOST

just one or just a small number or amount : ↑ ONLY

not important, special or interesting : ↑ ONLY

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1. when something happened a short time ago

▷ just /dʒʌst/ [adverb]

▪ Sorry, she just left for home. Can I take a message?

▪ The war had just ended, and the country’s economy was in ruins.

▪ You’ve had your hair cut, haven’t you? I’ve just noticed.

▪ I just heard the news! Congratulations!

▷ only just /ˌəʊnli ˈdʒʌst◂/ [adverb] especially British

a very short time ago :

▪ It’s noon, and she’s only just got up.

▪ I’ve only just passed my driving test, so I’m still a little nervous.

▷ a minute/second ago also a moment ago especially British /ə ˈmɪnə̇t, ˈsekənd əˌgəʊ, ə ˈməʊmənt əˌgəʊ/ [adverb] spoken

a very short time ago - use this especially when a situation has changed :

▪ She was here a minute ago.

▪ There was a phone call for you a second ago, but I didn’t know where you were.

▪ What did I do with my glasses? I had them in my hand a moment ago.

▷ just now also just this minute British /ˌdʒʌst ˈnaʊ, ˌdʒʌst ðɪs ˈmɪnə̇t/ [adverb] spoken

a very short time ago - use this especially when you are answering someone who is looking for someone else :

▪ ‘Have you seen Carl?’ ‘I just this minute hung up on him.’

▪ She just now left, so she should be home by six.

▪ Didn’t I just this minute tell you to tidy your room!

▪ Sandy was on the Internet just now, that’s why the phone was busy.

▷ barely also hardly/scarcely British /ˈbeəʳli, ˈhɑːʳdli, ˈskeəʳsli/ [adverb] spoken

use this to say that something had just happened when something else happened :

▪ I had scarcely opened the door when the dog came running in.

▪ She had barely slept 10 minutes before she was woken up again.

▪ The class had barely started when the fire bell rang.

▪ Hardly had King finished speaking when a shot was fired by someone in the crowd.

2. when someone has become a particular age a short time ago

▷ just turned 10/30/60 etc /ˌdʒʌst tɜːʳnd ˈten/ [adverb]

if someone has just turned a particular age, they have very recently had their birthday :

▪ She just turned five in August.

▪ When he retired, he’d just turned 65.

▷ be barely 10/18/21 etc /biː ˌbeəʳli ˈten/ [verb phrase]

if someone, usually a young person, is barely a particular age, they have only very recently had their birthday :

▪ He’s 35, and he’s going out with a girl who’s barely 18.

3. when something happens, although it almost did not happen

▷ just /dʒʌst/ [adverb]

▪ ‘Can I speak to Tony please?’ ‘Sorry, you’ve just missed him.’

▪ If you hurry you’ll just catch the 9.30 bus.

▪ I just made it to class on time.

▪ At the moment we’re just making enough money to cover our costs.

just in time

with very little time to spare

▪ We got to the station just in time.

▷ barely /ˈbeəʳli/ [adverb]

if you barely do something, you succeed, although you almost fail :

▪ The fog was so bad that we could barely see the road in front of us.

▪ The staff here are barely coping with all the work.

▷ almost didn’t also nearly didn’t British /ˌɔːlməʊst ˈdɪdnt, ˌnɪəʳli ˈdɪdnt/:

▪ I saw him a week ago and I almost didn’t recognize him, he’d lost so much weight.

▪ My alarm clock is broken and I nearly didn’t wake up in time this morning.

▷ only just British /just barely American /ˌəʊnli ˈdʒʌst◂, dʒʌst ˈbeəʳli/ [adverb]

use this when you succeed in doing something, but you want to emphasize how close you were to failing :

▪ It was a close game. Beverly beat me, but only just.

▪ I could just barely hear him.

▪ The paperwork was only just completed in time for the conference.

▪ The train was late, and I just barely made it to the meeting on time.

▷ narrowly /ˈnærəʊli/ [adverb]

narrowly win/defeat/fail etc

if you narrowly win, lose etc, you win or lose by a very small number of points, votes etc :

▪ The bill was narrowly defeated in the Senate.

▪ She narrowly failed to beat the world record in the 100 metres sprint.

▷ be a near/close thing /biː ə ˌnɪəʳ, ˌkləʊs ˈθɪŋ/ [verb phrase] British

use this to say that something good happened, but it almost did not :

▪ The Labour party won the election, but it was a very near thing.

▪ He nearly died - it was a very close thing.

▷ by the skin of your teeth /baɪ ðə ˌskɪn əv jɔːʳ ˈtiːθ/ [adverb]

if you do something by the skin of your teeth, you succeed in doing it, but only by a very small amount of time, space etc :

▪ The business is surviving, but only by the skin of its teeth.

▪ The car broke down on the way to the airport and they just caught the plane by the skin of their teeth.

4. when something bad almost happened, but did not

▷ narrowly /ˈnærəʊli/ [adverb]

narrowly avoid/miss/escape etc

to avoid something unpleasant or dangerous, although you almost do not avoid it :

▪ A black BMW swerved, narrowly missing another car.

▪ He narrowly escaped arrest when the police raided his house.

narrow [adjective only before noun]

▪ Markov had a very narrow escape when his helicopter crashed.

▷ close shave British also close call American /ˌkləʊs ˈʃeɪv, ˌkləʊs ˈkɔːl/ [countable noun]

a situation in which something bad almost happens but does not :

▪ A sniper’s bullet went through the sleeve of his coat. It was a close shave but didn’t even scratch him.

▪ Joe breathed a sigh of relief as the guard passed on to the next cell: ‘That was a close call!’

▷ that was close! /ˌðæt wəz ˈkləʊs/ spoken

say this when you have managed to avoid something dangerous or unpleasant, but you almost did not :

▪ Geez, that was close! Did you see that red car?

▷ near miss /ˌnɪəʳ ˈmɪs/ [countable noun]

a situation in which something, especially a car or plane, almost hits something, but does not :

▪ There were two near misses on the airport’s runways between 1998 and 1999.

▪ The asteroid flew within 106,000 miles of Earth, which astronomers considered a near miss.

5. when you do something, but only with difficulty

▷ can hardly/barely also can scarcely British /kən ˈhɑːʳdli, ˈbeəʳli, kən ˈskeəʳsli/ [modal verb]

if you can hardly, can barely, or can scarcely do something, you are able to do it but only with a lot of difficulty :

▪ I was so tired I could hardly keep my eyes open.

▪ She’s not strong. She can barely walk without holding on to something.

▪ He lay flat on his back, scarcely able to breathe, waiting for the ambulance.

▷ can just about /kən ˈdʒʌst əbaʊt/ [verb phrase]

if you can just about do something, you are able to do it but only with a lot of difficulty :

▪ I could just about reach it.

▪ I think I can just about manage to get there on time.

▪ He’s just about able to walk on his own again.

6. when something is a particular size, amount etc, but no more

▷ just /dʒʌst/ [adverb]

▪ The house is just big enough for the whole family.

▪ Pick the fruit when it’s just ripe.

▷ barely /ˈbeəʳli/ [adverb]

if someone or something is barely a particular size, level, amount, distance etc, it is that size, level etc, but no bigger or more than that :

▪ There was barely a gallon of gas in the tank.

▪ He had barely a mile to go before finishing the race.

▪ His voice was barely loud enough to be heard at the back of the theatre.

▪ 5000 gallons of water is barely enough to supply a fire truck for five minutes.

▷ only just British /just barely American /ˌəʊnli ˈdʒʌst◂, dʒʌst ˈbeəʳli/ [adverb]

use this when something is a particular size, level, amount, distance etc, but you want to emphasize that it is not any bigger or any more than that :

▪ The cable’s only just long enough to reach my desk.

▪ We can walk. Her house is just barely around the corner.

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