Definition of “actual” - English Dictionary

“actual” in British English

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actualadjective [ before noun ]

uk /ˈæk.tʃu.əl/ us /ˈæk.tʃu.əl/

B2 existing in fact:

We had estimated about 300 visitors, but the actual number was much higher.
The exams are in July, but the actual results (= the results themselves) don't appear until September.
Synonym
in actual fact

B2 really:

I thought she was Portuguese, but in actual fact she's Brazilian.

More examples

  • I often prefer the ads on TV to the actual programmes.
  • The documentary was a misrepresentation of the truth and bore little resemblance to actual events.
  • The actual signing of the treaty was a downbeat affair without any ceremony.
  • Their predictions were hopelessly out of line with the actual results.
  • He said he went to Florida for medical treatment, but in actual fact he was trying to escape from the British police.

(Definition of “actual” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

“actual” in American English

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actualadjective [ not gradable ]

us /ˈæk·tʃu·əl/

real; existing in fact:

We expected 50 people, but the actual number was a lot higher.

(Definition of “actual” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

“actual” in Business English

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actualadjective [ only before noun ]

uk /ˈæktʃuəl/ us

true or exact:

actual amount/cost/figure Residents are paying electricity prices that are double the actual cost of generating electricity.
There is a gap between desired and actual performance.
actual sales/results

real, rather than part of an idea or plan:

He's had a lot of interviews, but never had an actual job.

INTERNET real, not on the internet:

actualnoun [ usually plural ]

uk /ˈæktʃuəl/ us

ACCOUNTING an amount of money that a company really spends, rather than an amount of money that it plans or expects to spend:

We continuously compare budgeted amounts with actuals.

STOCK MARKET something that physically exists such as oil, metal, grain, or coffee that is traded on the stock market:

Transactions can be trade in actuals or by means of futures contracts.

(Definition of “actual” from the Cambridge Business English Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)