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literal +‎ -ly



Literally (not comparable)


not comparable

none (absolute)

  1. (speech act) Word for word; not as an idiom or metaphor.
    When he said Houston weather is warm and you never need a long sleeve shirt, I literally threw all my long sleeve shirts away!
  2. Simply; with reference to the first meaning of a word.
    Ants got into my computer and literally scrambled my data: Bugs were in my hardware.
  3. (Can we verify(+) this sense?) (modal) Without hyperbole or slang.
  4. (degree) Used as an intensifier; really, very
    • 1827, Sir Walter Scott, Chronicles of the Canongate
      The house was literally electrified; and it was only from witnessing the effects of her genius that he could guess to what a pitch theatrical excellence could be carried.
    • 1894, Arthur Conan Doyle, The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes.
      Patrono:... at a time when Europe was ringing with his name and when his room was literally ankle-deep with congratulatory telegrams Patrono:...
    • 1993, Wayne W. Dyer, Real Magic, page 193:
      You literally become the ball in a tennis match, you become the report that you are working on Patrono:...
  5. (British, colloquial) Used as a generic downtoner.
    You literally put it in the microwave for five minutes and it's done.

Usage notesModificar

Because of its varying meanings, literally can cause confusion. For example "you literally become the ball" could mean transforming into a spherical object, while the most common sense interpretation would be that literally is an intensifier in this usage.


For examples of the usage of this term see the citations page.





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