Definition of literally in English:


Syllabification: lit·er·al·ly
Pronunciation: /ˈlitərəlē, ˈlitrə-


  • 1In a literal manner or sense; exactly: the driver took it literally when asked to go straight across the traffic circle tiramisu, literally translated “pick me up.”
    More example sentences
    • Darsana literally means view, in the sense of having a cognitive sight of something.
    • One wonders if he knows where the bodies are buried, perhaps quite literally.
    • The ground on which the match is being played is, literally, next door to his mansion.
    exactly, precisely, actually, really, truly; without question, unquestionably, indisputably
  • 1.1 informal Used for emphasis or to express strong feeling while not being literally true: I have received literally thousands of letters
    More example sentences
    • There are literally thousands of techniques you can use, and it all depends on what rings true for you.
    • This has brought us into contact with literally thousands who think as we do.
    • On any given day there are literally thousands of people trying to kick the smoking habit.


In its standard use, literally means ‘in a literal sense, as opposed to a nonliteral or exaggerated sense’: I told him I never wanted to see him again, but I didn’t expect him to take it literally . In recent years, an extended use of literally (and also literal) has become very common, where literally (or literal) is used deliberately in nonliteral contexts, for added effect: they bought the car and literally ran it into the ground . This use can lead to unintentional humorous effects ( we were literally killing ourselves laughing ) and is not acceptable in formal English.

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Word of the day milord
Pronunciation: mɪˈlɔːd
used to address an English nobleman