Definition of literally in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈlidərəlē/
Pronunciation: /ˈlitrəlē/


1In a literal manner or sense; exactly: the driver took it literally when asked to go straight across the traffic circle tiramisu, literally translatedpick 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.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: lit·er·al·ly

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