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English definition of “actually”

actually

adverb uk   /ˈæk.tʃu.ə.li/ /-tju-/ /-tʃʊ.li/ us  

actually adverb (IN FACT)

A2 in fact or really: I didn't actually see her - I just heard her voice. So what actually happened?

actually adverb (SURPRISE)

B1 used in sentences in which there is information that is in some way surprising or the opposite of what most people would expect: I didn't like him at first, but in the end I actually got quite fond of him. I'm one of the few people who doesn't actually like champagne.humorous Don't tell me he actually paid for you!

actually adverb (SAYING NO)

B2 used as a way of making a sentence slightly more polite, for example when you are expressing an opposing opinion, correcting what someone else has said, or refusing an offer: "Alexander looks like he'd be good at sports." "Actually, he's not." Actually, Gavin, it was Tuesday of last week, not Wednesday. "Do you mind if I smoke?" "Well, actually, I'd rather you didn't."
(Definition of actually from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
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