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 unexpectedwas 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 Selenite hunters like Hileman are actually doing a good thing. Ashley Stimpson, National Geographic, "Dig in! This nature reserve wants you to make a mess," 15 Sep. 2020 For years, it was believed that roof rats’ fleas actually spread the disease, according to René A. Guzman,, "S.A.’s Common Critters: Learning to love the common house rat — or at least hate it a little less," 15 Sep. 2020 The rally actually defied Nevada's 50-person limit on indoor gatherings. TheWeek, "Jimmy Fallon, Seth Meyers, and Trevor Noah ponder why Trump superfans still trust him with their lives," 15 Sep. 2020 More stress is bound to be felt, as coaches like Allen begin to actually plot a way out of a muddy situation. Jon Blau, The Indianapolis Star, "IU football coach Tom Allen on COVID pandemic: 'One big, fat, juicy, stressful situation'," 15 Sep. 2020 Despite his low-key image as Abe’s right-hand man, Suga is actually known for his iron-fist approach to getting jobs done as a policy coordinator and influencing bureaucrats by using the centralized power of the prime minister’s office. Mari Yamaguchi, USA TODAY, "Yoshihide Suga wins key party vote, will likely replace Abe as Japan's prime minister," 15 Sep. 2020 But the labor force in the Black Belt has actually gone up by about 12,000 in the last few months. Ramsey Archibald |, al, "Black Belt far behind rest of nation in work force participation: Black Belt 2020," 15 Sep. 2020 The Bloomberg report, however, cited unnamed sources who said the truck at the event was not actually drivable and was missing parts. Peter Valdes-dapena, CNN, "Electric truck startup Nikola hits back at short seller's report," 15 Sep. 2020 Increasing benefits can actually jump-start the economy, advocates said. Carolyn Said,, "Hunger rises in Bay Area as pandemic lingers," 15 Sep. 2020

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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Time Traveler for actually

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for actually

Last Updated

18 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Actually.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for actually


How to pronounce actually (audio)

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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