literally Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary Cambridge dictionaries logo

Meaning of “literally” in the English Dictionary

"literally" in British English

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literallyadverb

uk   /ˈlɪt.ər.əl.i/ /-rə.li/  us   /ˈlɪt̬.ɚ.əl.i/
B2 using the ​real or ​originalmeaning of a word or phrase: They were ​responsible for literally millions of ​deaths. We ​live literally just round the ​corner from her. If you translate literally, you ​translate each word in a ​textseparately, without ​looking at how the words are used together in a phrase or ​sentence: Translations that are done too literally often don't ​flow well or don't ​soundnatural. informal used to ​emphasize what you are saying: He ​missed that ​kick literally by ​miles. I was literally ​bowled over by the ​news. informal simply or just: Then you literally ​cut the ​sausage down the ​middle.

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

"literally" in American English

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literallyadverb

 us   /ˈlɪt̬·ər·ə·li/
[not gradable] used for ​emphasizing how ​large or ​great an ​amount is: There were literally hundreds of ​pages to ​read in the ​contract. [not gradable] Literally is also used to ​emphasize a ​statement and ​suggest that it is ​surprising: I literally (= really) had no ​idea you and Sophie were coming.
(Definition of literally from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)
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