ac·​tu·​al | \ ˈak-ch(ə-w)əl How to pronounce actual (audio) , -sh(ə-w)əl; -chü-əl, -shü- \

Definition of actual

1a : existing in fact or reality actual events actual and imagined conditions
b : not false or apparent actual costs
c used for emphasisThis is the actual room in which my grandfather was born.
2 : existing or occurring at the time caught in the actual commission of a crime
3 obsolete : active

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Examples of actual in a Sentence

They signed the agreement in the spring, but the actual sale wasn't made until that summer. You deposit money in a bank account but the actual money is not held there. The actual cost of the repair was much higher than the estimate.
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Recent Examples on the Web Content state: Writing In use by: Proofreading state: Reporter(s): Tully, Jeff Last modified: 08-29 07:59 PM - Tully, Jeff Requested size: Actual size: 45 lin - 5.92i Category: Contextual use: Normal Description: Correction: All usages: Staff Reports, Burbank Leader, "Sports roundup: Burroughs volleyball does well in tournament," 29 Aug. 2017 Not playing in actual games after enrolling at Kentucky in January helped keep Diallo's flaws out of the public view. Fletcher Page, The Courier-Journal, "The crucial area of improvement for Kentucky basketball's Hamidou Diallo," 28 Aug. 2017 Max Baer, who faced Schmeling in 1933, wore a Star of David on his shorts to emphasize his Jewishness (even though his actual heritage was uncertain). Nancy Kidder, The Atlantic, "Four Ways of Looking at Mayweather vs. McGregor," 25 Aug. 2017 That included attempts and actual destruction of an energy facility and arson on government property, the company said. Andrew M Harris,, "Energy Transfer Suit Claims Greenpeace Incites Eco-Terrorism," 22 Aug. 2017 Frontier’s management side was lacking in that game, but the actual building aspects were spot on and the level of customization was awe-inspiring at times. Hayden Dingman, PCWorld, "Jurassic World Evolution theme park sim revealed by Planet Coaster's developer," 21 Aug. 2017 As ice dragons supposedly melt when slain, no actual proof of their existence has ever been found. Joanna Robinson, HWD, "Why Game of Thrones Fans Saw That Hideous Dragon Twist Coming," 20 Aug. 2017 In terms of actual crimes, there were 222 reported in RB during 2017 versus 271 reported in 2016. Elizabeth Marie Himchak, Rancho Bernardo, "Rancho Bernardo crime trends show improvement," 17 Aug. 2017 What makes this even more awkward is the meaning behind the gesture: Jeor gave Jon the weapon as a symbol of their father-son bond, after being disgraced by his actual son. Erica Gonzales, Harper's BAZAAR, "Jorah Doesn't Know That Jon Snow Has a Mormont Family Heirloom," 15 Aug. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'actual.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of actual

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 3

History and Etymology for actual

Middle English, "active, existing in fact," borrowed from Anglo-French & Late Latin; Anglo-French actuel, borrowed from Late Latin āctuālis, from Latin āctus act entry 1 + -ālis -al entry 1

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Time Traveler for actual

Time Traveler

The first known use of actual was in the 14th century

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Statistics for actual

Cite this Entry

“Actual.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Apr. 2020.

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How to pronounce actual (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of actual

: real and not merely possible or imagined : existing in fact
: known to be correct or precise : not false or apparent
used for emphasis


ac·​tu·​al | \ ˈak-chə-wəl How to pronounce actual (audio) \

Kids Definition of actual

: really existing or happening : not false The movie is based on actual events.



Legal Definition of actual

: existing in fact or reality — compare constructive

Other Words from actual

actually adverb

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More from Merriam-Webster on actual

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for actual

Spanish Central: Translation of actual

Nglish: Translation of actual for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of actual for Arabic Speakers

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