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An example phrase from プログレッシブ和英中辞典

目もくらむばかりの宝石の山 a dazzling heap of gems

Can ばかり here be safely replaced by ほど, くらい etc. without changing the meaning? Is this how ばかり+の (with ばかり working as a pseudo-noun here, I assume?) preceded by a predicative form works, to emphasize the predicate?

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Your assumption is right. That ばかり was originally used in the form of 目もくらまんばかり, which meant "so much that you are only escaping being dazzled" → "so much that you are nearly dazzled". In that sense, it's interchangeable as you said. And, if there's a difference from ほど・くらい at all, it could be that ばかり's version is a rhetorical expression and thus, could sound more impressive.

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