Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Medical
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary


adjective \ˈver-ē, ˈve-rē\

Simple Definition of very

  • —used to emphasize that you are talking about one specific thing or part and not another

  • : not having anything added or extra

  • —used to emphasize that something belongs to or is part of a particular person or thing

Full Definition of very


  1. 1 a :  properly entitled to the name or designation :  true <the fierce hatred of a very woman — J. M. Barrie> b :  actual, real <the very blood and bone of our grammar — H. L. Smith †1972> c :  simple, plain <in very truth>

  2. 2 a :  exact, precise <the very heart of the city> b :  exactly suitable or necessary <the very thing for the purpose>

  3. 3 a :  absolute, utter <the veriest fool alive> b :  unqualified, sheer <the very shame of it>

  4. 4 —used as an intensive especially to emphasize identity <before my very eyes>

  5. 5 :  mere, bare <the very thought terrified him>

  6. 6 :  being the same one :  selfsame <the very man I saw>

  7. 7 :  special, particular <the very essence of truth is plainness and brightness — John Milton>

Examples of very

  1. <we stayed in the very hotel my parents stayed in for their honeymoon>

  2. <the very thought of having to go through that again is scary>

Origin of very

Middle English verray, verry, from Anglo-French verai, from Vulgar Latin *veracus, alteration of Latin verac-, verax truthful, from verus true; akin to Old English wǣr true, Old High German wāra trust, care, Greek ēra (accusative) favor

First Known Use: 13th century

Synonym Discussion of very

same, selfsame, very, identical, equivalent, equal mean not different or not differing from one another. same may imply and selfsame always implies that the things under consideration are one thing and not two or more things <took the same route> <derived from the selfsame source>. very, like selfsame, may imply identity, or, like same, may imply likeness in kind <the very point I was trying to make>. identical may imply selfsameness or suggest absolute agreement in all details <identical results>. equivalent implies amounting to the same thing in worth or significance <two houses equivalent in market value>. equal implies being identical in value, magnitude, or some specified quality <equal shares in the business>.




Simple Definition of very

  • : to a great degree

  • —used to emphasize the exactness of a description

Full Definition of very

  1. 1 :  in actual fact :  truly <the very best store in town> <told the very same story>

  2. 2 :  to a high degree :  exceedingly <very hot> <didn't hurt very much>

Examples of very

  1. <that was a very brave thing to do>

  2. <the very same thing happened to me>

14th Century

First Known Use of very

14th century

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up very? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


February 11, 2016

the holder of an office

Get Word of the Day daily email!


Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!


How much does a batman (the Turkish unit of measurement) weigh?

2.2 pounds 100 pounds 16.96 pounds 196.5 pounds
Name That Thing

10 quick questions: hear them, spell them, and see how your skills compare to the crowd.


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.