ac·​tu·​al·​ly ˈak-ch(ə-w)ə-lē How to pronounce actually (audio)
: in act or in fact : really
trying to find out what actually happened
won't actually arrive for an hour
: in point of fact
used to suggest something unexpected
was surprised to learn that she could actually speak German

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 Both chatbots referred me to publicly available data on hospital outcomes and safety metrics, rather than actually using data on the government’s Hospital Compare site. Michael L. Millenson, Forbes, 28 Feb. 2024 There is a glut of big, expensive and expansive TV shows these days, but there isn't a glut of big, expensive and expansive TV shows that are actually worth watching. Kelly Lawler, USA TODAY, 28 Feb. 2024 Leap day this year is also a big deal for Mary Forsythe, who will mark her 25th birthday — which will actually be her 100th. Sydney Page, Washington Post, 28 Feb. 2024 They are not accused of actually stealing the roughly 100 legal-pad sheets. CBS News, 28 Feb. 2024 If it’s somehow compromised, this PUF can actually destroy itself. IEEE Spectrum, 28 Feb. 2024 The resort didn’t actually break ground until early 2018. The Arizona Republic, 28 Feb. 2024 Ducking Ukraine | Hamas gains | The other district attorney candidate holds an administrative job whereas Stebbins is the only candidate who has been in the courtroom for 26 years actually prosecuting domestic violence, rape, homicide, arson, environmental violations and child molestation cases. Letters To The Editor, The Mercury News, 28 Feb. 2024 Despite the spike in labor activity, union membership rates actually fell slightly last year. Wyatte Grantham-Philips, Fortune, 16 Feb. 2024 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'actually.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near actually

Cite this Entry

“Actually.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition


ac·​tu·​al·​ly ˈak-ch(ə-w)ə-lē How to pronounce actually (audio)
: in fact or in truth : really
she actually spoke Spanish
actually, I didn't want to go

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