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fairly shook

Posted: Wed Oct 21, 2020 11:25 am
by azz
a. The walls fairly shook from the sound of the explosion.

b. He fell and fairly broke his arm.


Does 'fairly' mean 'really', 'completely' or 'almost' in the above sentences?

Many thanks

Re: fairly shook

Posted: Wed Oct 21, 2020 12:52 pm
by Phil White
a) is fine, but b) makes no sense to me.

As far as the meaning is concerned, it is not easy to pin down. The closest I can get is something like "literally":
  • The walls fairly/literally shook.
  • He fairly/literally screamed with delight.
Historically, I think the meaning is something like "in the proper sense".