What does literal mean?

Definitions for literalˈlɪt ər əl

Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word literal.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. misprint, erratum, typographical error, typo, literal error, literal(adj)

    a mistake in printed matter resulting from mechanical failures of some kind

  2. actual, genuine, literal, real(adj)

    being or reflecting the essential or genuine character of something

    "her actual motive"; "a literal solitude like a desert"- G.K.Chesterton; "a genuine dilemma"

  3. literal(adj)

    without interpretation or embellishment

    "a literal depiction of the scene before him"

  4. literal(adj)

    limited to the explicit meaning of a word or text

    "a literal translation"

  5. literal(adj)

    avoiding embellishment or exaggeration (used for emphasis)

    "it's the literal truth"


  1. literal(Noun)

    A value, as opposed to an identifier, written into the source code of a computer program.

  2. literal(Noun)

    A propositional variable or the negation of a propositional variable.

  3. literal(Adjective)

    Exactly as stated; read or understood without additional interpretation; according to the letter or verbal expression; real; not figurative or metaphorical.

    The literal translation is u201Chands full of bananasu201D but it means empty-handed.

  4. literal(Adjective)

    Following the letter or exact words; not free; not taking liberties.

    A literal reading of the law would prohibit it, but that is clearly not the intent.

  5. literal(Adjective)

    Consisting of, or expressed by, letters.

  6. Origin: From literal, from litteralis, also literalis, from littera, litera; see letter.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Literal(adj)

    according to the letter or verbal expression; real; not figurative or metaphorical; as, the literal meaning of a phrase

  2. Literal(adj)

    following the letter or exact words; not free

  3. Literal(adj)

    consisting of, or expressed by, letters

  4. Literal(adj)

    giving a strict or literal construction; unimaginative; matter-of fast; -- applied to persons

  5. Literal(noun)

    literal meaning

  6. Origin: [F. litral, littral, L. litteralis, literalis, fr. littera, litera, a letter. See Letter.]


  1. Literal

    In mathematical logic, a literal is an atomic formula or its negation. The definition mostly appears in proof theory, e.g. in conjunctive normal form and the method of resolution. Literals can be divided into two types: ⁕A positive literal is just an atom. ⁕A negative literal is the negation of an atom. For a literal, the complementary literal is a literal corresponding to the negation of, we can write to denote the complementary literal of . More precisely, if then is and if then is . In the context of a formula in the conjunctive normal form, a literal is pure if the literal's complement does not appear in the formula.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Literal

    lit′ėr-al, adj. according to the letter: plain: not figurative or metaphorical: following the letter or exact meaning, word for word.—v.t. Lit′eralise.—ns. Lit′eraliser; Lit′eralism, strict adherence to the letter: interpretation that is merely verbal: (art) exact and unimaginative rendering of objects; Lit′eralist; Literal′ity.—adv. Lit′erally.—n. Lit′eralness. [Fr.,—L. literalislitera, a letter.]


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of literal in Chaldean Numerology is: 1

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of literal in Pythagorean Numerology is: 5

Sample Sentences & Example Usage

  1. Hilmar Orn Hilmarsson:

    We do n’t tend to be literal in our beliefs in Iceland, not even the Christian ones.

  2. President Tayyip Erdogan:

    There is now a president in the country not with symbolic power, but with literal power.

  3. Bryant McGill:

    Enthusiasm is the energy and force that builds literal momentum of the human soul and mind.

  4. George Steiner:

    It is not the literal past that rules us, save, possibly, in a biological sense. It is images of the past.

  5. Casey Reas:

    The idea is to create something which is already a visual assault and make it more of a literal visual assault.

Images & Illustrations of literal

  1. literalliteralliteral

Translations for literal

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

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"literal." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2018. Web. 21 Feb. 2018. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/literal>.

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