literal definition, meaning - what is literal in the British English Dictionary & Thesaurus - Cambridge Dictionaries Online

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English definition of “literal”

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literal

adjective uk   /ˈlɪt.ər.əl/  us   /ˈlɪt̬.ɚ-/
C2 The literal meaning of a word is its original, basic meaning: The literal meaning of "television" is "seeing from a distance". You will need to show more than just a literal understanding of the text.
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A literal translation of a text is done by translating each word separately, without looking at how the words are used together in a phrase or sentence. : Her translation is too literal, resulting in unnatural-sounding prose.
(Definition of literal from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
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