What does literally mean?

Definitions for literally
ˈlɪt ər ə lilit·er·al·ly

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word literally.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. literallyadverb

    in a literal sense

    "literally translated"; "he said so literally"

  2. literallyadverb

    (intensifier before a figurative expression) without exaggeration

    "our eyes were literally pinned to TV during the Gulf War"


  1. literallyadverb

    word for word; not figuratively; not as an idiom or metaphor

    When I saw on the news that there would be no school tomorrow because of the snowstorm, I literally jumped for joy, and hit my head on the ceiling fan.

  2. literallyadverb

    used non-literally as an intensifier for figurative statements: virtually (often considered incorrect; see usage notes)

  3. literallyadverb

    Used as a generic downtoner: just, merely.

    You literally put it in the microwave for five minutes and it's done.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Literallyadverb

    Etymology: from literal.

    That a man and his wife are one flesh, I can comprehend the meaning of; yet literally taken, it is a thing impossible. Jonathan Swift.

    Endeavouring to turn his Nisus and Euryalus as close as I was able, I have performed that episode too literally; that giving more scope to Mezentius and Lausus, that version, which has more of the majesty of Virgil , has less of his conciseness. Dryden.

    So wild and ungovernable a poet cannot be translated literally; his genius is too strong to bear a chain. Dryden.


  1. Literally

    Literally is an English adverb. It has been controversially used as an intensifier for figurative statements.


  1. literally

    Literally is an adverb which means in a literal manner or sense; exactly. It is used to emphasize the truth and accuracy of a statement or description, often to express surprise or to emphasize something that is really true and not metaphorical or hyperbolic.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Literallyadverb

    according to the primary and natural import of words; not figuratively; as, a man and his wife can not be literally one flesh

  2. Literallyadverb

    with close adherence to words; word by word

Suggested Resources

  1. Literally

    Literally vs. Figuratively -- In this Grammar.com article you will learn the differences between the words Literally and Figuratively.

British National Corpus

  1. Written Corpus Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'literally' in Written Corpus Frequency: #2440

  2. Adverbs Frequency

    Rank popularity for the word 'literally' in Adverbs Frequency: #291

How to pronounce literally?

How to say literally in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of literally in Chaldean Numerology is: 5

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of literally in Pythagorean Numerology is: 6

Examples of literally in a Sentence

  1. Joe Gross:

    It’s all literally coming out of this one hole. This literally must be like a year of hair.

  2. The Italian photographer Majoli:

    The picture is (taken) in a bar that is literally 100 meters from one of the places (that was attacked), actually, it was a surprise that it was open -- the bar. People were standing outside, having their brunch or whatever, and literally 100 meters (about 330 feet) away, eight hours before, 18 people (were) being killed.

  3. Enrico Vitello:

    We found, literally, a floating cemetery. Bodies were everywhere. With the dinghies we had to literally slalom among the corpses.

  4. Eugene Kennedy:

    The real test of friendship is Can you literally do nothing with the other person Can you enjoy together those moments of life that are utterly simple They are the moments people look back on at the end of life and number as their most sacred experiences.

  5. Avril Lavigne:

    I was in Los Angeles, literally, like the worst time in my life and I was seeing, like, every specialist and literally, the top doctors. It’s so stupid.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for literally

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

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"literally." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2023. Web. 24 Sep. 2023. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/literally>.

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    long and thin and often limp
    • A. lank
    • B. splay
    • C. naiant
    • D. dicotyledonous

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