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(LIT-uhr-uh-lee) Pronunciation Sound Clip

1. In a literal manner; word for word.
2. In a literal or strict sense.
3. (Usage Problem) Really; actually.

"Perfide Angleterre. 1786, French aristocrat Count Honore de Mirabeau: English generosity! They calculate everything, even talent and friendship; most of their writers have almost literally died of starvation."
The English; The Economist (London, UK); Dec 31, 1999.

"Sadada Jackson: It took me literally two months just to get around the corner from my house."
Jay Schadler, et al.; Don't Panic; ABC 20/20; Feb 24, 1999.

This week's theme: Words often used in a sense different from their established definitions


A time will come when a politician who has wilfully made war and promoted international dissension will be as sure of the dock and much surer of the noose than a private homicide. It is not reasonable that those who gamble with men's lives should not stake their own. -H.G. Wells, British Writer [The Salvaging of Civilization] (1866-1946)

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