Definition of actual in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈak(t)SH(o͞o)əl/


1Existing in fact; typically as contrasted with what was intended, expected, or believed: the estimate was much less than the actual cost those were his actual words
More example sentences
  • There are actual real live people out there that Blog and I'm going to meet one, How exciting!
  • Somewhere in this mass of opinions and actual fact lies the truth about what is actually safe.
  • I think maybe to read this blog you have to know the person and know what is going on in the actual real life.
real, true, genuine, authentic, verified, attested, confirmed, definite, hard, plain, veritable;
existing, existent, manifest, substantial, factual, de facto, bona fide
informal honest-to-goodness, real live
1.1Used to emphasize the important aspect of something: the book could be condensed into half the space, but what of the actual content?
More example sentences
  • All the hype on this one seems to have run ahead of the album's actual content and import.
  • As this has happened, the structure of the content, the actual text, has become more important.
  • So, the actual content of the cigarette is less important than its function.
2Existing now; current: using actual income to measure expected income
More example sentences
  • This is the gap that exists between the total future market potential and the current actual usage in the market.
  • It will need simple but accurate budgets and forecasts to check against actual income and expenditure.
  • There is a dispute between the parties as to the actual income of the Respondent.


in actual fact

Used to emphasize a comment, typically one that modifies or contradicts a previous statement: people talk as if he were a monster—in actual fact he was a very kind guy
More example sentences
  • The accused, in actual fact, had not previously been to Cuba.
  • Sometimes a customer will ask for a maintenance contract when, in actual fact, they need a lot more.
  • Still, I haven't met many people who were kinder and more even-handed, or less racist in actual fact.


Middle English: from Old French actuel 'active, practical', from late Latin actualis, from actus (see act).

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: ac·tu·al

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