ac·​tu·​al·​ly | \ ˈak-ch(ə-w)ə-lē How to pronounce actually (audio) , -sh(ə-w)ə-lē; ˈaksh-lē, ˈaks-\

Definition of actually

1 : in act or in fact : really trying to find out what actually happened won't actually arrive for an hour
2 : in point of fact used to suggest something unexpected was surprised to learn that she could actually speak German

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Examples of actually in a Sentence

actually, I'd rather spend the evening at home I call her Aunt Emily, but she is actually my cousin, not my aunt.

Recent Examples on the Web

The plot was actually intended to kill British soldiers or police, a UK trial later heard. Nick Paton Walsh, CNN, "One of the ISIS 'Beatles' says he's sorry. Will confessions save these fighters from death row?," 10 June 2019 That’s actually trying to make connections to people. Dalton Ross,, "Fear the Walking Dead showrunners on the return of Daniel Salazar," 10 June 2019 Karanikolaou and Jenner have actually been friends for a long time, just not on the level of Jenner and her former BFF Jordyn Woods. Jenna Milliner-waddell,, "Kylie Jenner, A Big Handmaid’s Tale Fan, Threw A Gilead-Themed Birthday Party," 10 June 2019 The Morgan family actually doesn't mind the sight of deer around the neighborhood. Karen Pilarski, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "A deer and dog had a wild encounter in a Wauwatosa backyard," 10 June 2019 Upon completion of the initial investigation, after watching in- store surveillance footage, Officers determined that due to the suspect using force to push past the store manager the call was actually a robbery. Houston Chronicle, "Bellaire Police Department weekly report," 10 June 2019 Then came the mic drop — actually, a mic handoff — as Randall joined the group of elite runners toeing the starting line. Beth Bragg, Anchorage Daily News, "Dalton and Brennan stage another Run for Women duel, and Kikkan Randall steals the show," 9 June 2019 Paramedics then took Hodges into an ambulance, which her sister says never actually left the airport. Fox News, "Chicago woman mysteriously dies after flight to Dubai," 9 June 2019 If anything, for a sport so often scrutinized for safety, widespread attention for actually enforcing rules intended for safety was probably a positive thing. Gentry Estes, The Courier-Journal, "Mark Casse and Bill Mott are the top winners of a wild Triple Crown season," 9 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'actually.' 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 actually

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for actually

Middle English actuelly, from actuel, actual actual + -ly -ly entry 2

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Statistics for actually

Last Updated

13 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for actually

The first known use of actually was in the 15th century

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English Language Learners Definition of actually

used to refer to what is true or real
used to stress that a statement is true especially when it differs in some way from what might have been thought or expected


ac·​tu·​al·​ly | \ ˈak-chə-wə-lē How to pronounce actually (audio) \

Kids Definition of actually

: in fact : really It's not a lie. It actually happened.

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More from Merriam-Webster on actually

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for actually

Spanish Central: Translation of actually

Nglish: Translation of actually for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of actually for Arabic Speakers

Comments on actually

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


to take the place or position of

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