actually Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary Cambridge dictionaries logo

Meaning of “actually” in the English Dictionary

"actually" in British English

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actuallyadverb

uk   us   /ˈæk.tʃu.ə.li/ /-tju-/ /-tʃʊ.li/
  • actually adverb (IN FACT)

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

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  • 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 ​quitefond 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!

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  • actually adverb (SAYING NO)

B2 used as a way of making a ​sentenceslightly more ​polite, for ​example when you are ​expressing an ​opposingopinion, ​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."

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(Definition of actually from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"actually" in American English

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actuallyadverb [not gradable]

 us   /ˈæk·tʃu·ə·li/
used to say that something is ​true, esp. when the ​truesituation may not be ​known: We actually had a hard ​timemoving the ​sofa. Actually is often used when you ​want to ​emphasize that something is ​surprising or ​unusual: He actually ​expected me to ​pay for his ​dinner.
(Definition of actually from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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