• (British) IPA: /ˈlɪtəɹəli/, /ˈlɪtɹəli/, /ˈlɪtʃəli/
  • (America) IPA: /ˈlɪtəɹəli/, /ˈlɪ.ɾɚ.ə.li/,


  1. (speech act) word for word; not figuratively; not as an idiom or metaphor
    Synonyms: actually, really, Thesaurus:actually
    Antonyms: figuratively, metaphorically, virtually
    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.
    • 2015, Steven Universe, "On the Run":
      Pearl: Steven, we are not like the No Home Boys. We are literally standing in your home right now.
  2. (degree, figuratively, proscribed, contranym) Used non-literally as an intensifier for figurative statements: virtually, so to speak (often considered incorrect; see usage notes)
    Synonyms: virtually
    He was so surprised, he literally jumped twenty feet in the air.
    My daughter's pet rabbit had babies, and now we've literally got rabbits coming out of our ears.
    • 1993, Wayne W. Dyer, Real Magic, page 193:
      You literally become the ball in a tennis match, you become the report that you are working on […]
    • 2017, New Straits Times (Malaysia) 22 April, page 20:
      [O]ne can assume that the millions or billions of ringgit spent on the war against drugs have gone down the drain, literally.
  3. (colloquial) Used to intensify or dramatise non-figurative statements; tending towards a meaningless filler word in repeated use.
    I had no idea, so I was literally guessing.
    I was literally having breakfast when she arrived.
    She was literally like, "What?", and I was literally like, "Yeah".
  4. (colloquial) Used as a generic downtoner: just, merely.
    Synonyms: merely, Thesaurus:merely
    You literally put it in the microwave for five minutes and it's done.

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