Definition of very

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to a high degree : exceedingly very hot didn't hurt very much
2 : in actual fact : truly the very best store in town told the very same story
\ ˈver-ē How to pronounce very (audio) , ˈve-rē \
verier; veriest

Definition of very (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : exact, precise the very heart of the city
b : exactly suitable or necessary the very thing for the purpose
2a : unqualified, sheer the very shame of it
b : absolute, utter the veriest fool alive
3 used as an intensive especially to emphasize identitybefore my very eyes
4 : mere, bare the very thought terrified him
5 : being the same one : selfsame the very man I saw
6 : special, particular the very essence of truth is plainness and brightness— John Milton
7a : 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

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Choose the Right Synonym for 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

Examples of very in a Sentence

Adverb that was a very brave thing to do the very same thing happened to me Adjective we stayed in the very hotel my parents stayed in for their honeymoon the very thought of having to go through that again is scary
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb Even a familiar city can seem very different in uncertain times. Susan Slusser,, "A’s open first road trip amid uncertainty over safety, potential season shutdown," 31 July 2020 This year, holiday shopping is going to look very different in light of the coronavirus crisis. Perri Ormont Blumberg, Southern Living, "Target Holiday Shopping Deals Will Start in October," 30 July 2020 Kids will also come back to campuses having had very different pandemic habits modeled for them at home—the children of people who don’t take pandemic protocols seriously probably won’t take them seriously either. Joe Pinsker, The Atlantic, "Will Kids Follow the New Pandemic Rules at School?," 29 July 2020 His dad held very different memories of the town, which became to be known as America's Siberia. Meredith Spelbring, Detroit Free Press, "During WWII, troublemakers were sent to remote labor camp in Michigan's U.P.," 12 July 2020 Over the last few weeks two very different books have told the story of an unstable president unable to govern and unfit to lead. Molly Jong-fast, Vogue, "John Bolton and Mary Trump Seem to Agree On One Thing: Donald Trump Is a Truly Awful Person," 11 July 2020 However, their needs are now very different, as the older one is starting med school. Amy Dickinson, oregonlive, "Ask Amy: Woman ‘devastated’ to hear her 71 year old boyfriend of 10 years has no plans to marry her," 10 July 2020 More salient, though, are the very different historical contexts in which father and son governed. Mark Brilliant, Washington Post, "The prescient politics and policies of Jerry Brown," 10 July 2020 So Washington used his time in a very different way. Christina Macfarlane, CNN, "'I absolutely experienced racism in and out of tennis,' says former Wimbledon finalist Mal Washington," 9 July 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The Lost Childhood, not only shaped her life, but her very existence was a trophy. Jason Sheeler,, "How Horses Helped This New York Times Reporter Recover from Rape," 31 July 2020 That sparse pipeline of female leaders is evident at the very top; 5% of FTSE 350 CEOs are women. Fortune, "Is gender diversity good for business? Another study makes the case," 29 July 2020 After taking the penultimate step of graduating with his degree, Williams’ vision culminates at the NFL draft — and not just in the draft but at its very top. Paul Myerberg, USA TODAY, "QB Caleb Williams, five-star Oklahoma commit, has plan to become No. 1 pick in NFL draft," 10 July 2020 During his remarks, the President mentioned the virus once, at the very top of his remarks, thanking those working to fight it. Nicole Chavez, CNN, "The US is about to reach 3 million coronavirus cases. Here's what happened in the days leading up to it," 8 July 2020 At Pasadena ISD’s Maguire Field, the school district’s central baseball facility, their nests can be seen at the very top of at least two of the light poles. Robert Avery, Houston Chronicle, "Around Deer Park: Enormous nest on water tower belongs to monk parakeets," 3 July 2020 The very existence of the magazine opened up a world of possibilities for me. Chirlane Mccray, Essence, "Chirlane McCray Reflects On The Enduring Legacy of ESSENCE," 30 June 2020 In that, an implicit lesson: The very existence of I Am ALS could dilute the movement Brian and Sandra were trying to cohere. Brian Barrett, Wired, "My Friend Was Struck by ALS. Here’s How He’s Fighting Back," 23 June 2020 Instead, the entire country is engaging in a conversation about the very existence of these agencies. Erin Corbett,, "Police Are Going On Strike. Should Anyone Care?," 23 June 2020

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


14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 2


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 7a

History and Etymology for 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

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Learn More about very

Time Traveler for very

Time Traveler

The first known use of very was in the 13th century

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Statistics for very

Last Updated

3 Aug 2020

Cite this Entry

“Very.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for very



English Language Learners Definition of very

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: to a great degree
used to emphasize the exactness of a description
How to pronounce very (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of very (Entry 2 of 2)

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


\ ˈver-ē How to pronounce very (audio) \

Kids Definition of very

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : to a great degree : extremely It was very hot.
2 : in actual fact : truly That's the very best chocolate you can buy.

Kids Definition of very (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : exact entry 1, precise David … likes to go to the very top of that hill …— Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, Shiloh
2 : exactly suitable or necessary That's the very tool for this job.
3 : mere, bare The very thought frightened them.
4 : exactly the same That's the very story I told.

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More from Merriam-Webster on very

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for very

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with very

Spanish Central: Translation of very

Nglish: Translation of very for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of very for Arabic Speakers

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