Simple Definition of literal
: involving the ordinary or usual meaning of a word
: giving the meaning of each individual word
: completely true and accurate : not exaggerated
Full Definition of literal
1 a : according with the letter of the scriptures b : adhering to fact or to the ordinary construction or primary meaning of a term or expression : actual <liberty in the literal sense is impossible — B. N. Cardozo> c : free from exaggeration or embellishment <the literal truth> d : characterized by a concern mainly with facts <a very literal man>
2 : of, relating to, or expressed in letters
Examples of literal
I was using the word in its literal sense.
The literal meaning of “know your ropes” is “to know a lot about ropes,” while figuratively it means “to know a lot about how to do something.”
a literal translation of a book
The story he told was basically true, even if it wasn't the literal truth.
Origin of literal
Middle English, from Middle French, from Medieval Latin litteralis, from Latin, of a letter, from littera letter
First Known Use: 14th century
Definition of literal
: a small error usually of a single letter (as in writing)
Seen and Heard
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