The ground around us literally shook, and we thought he was dead.
No non-trivial action has literally zero effect on anything in the universe.
“I literally have to make everything a game for him,” Wixom told The Daily Beast in a phone interview.
Perhaps some expected me to begin my parliamentary career by bashing heads, literally.
literally nothing is being done about it, while parts of Darfur burn again.
Drws Daufynydd signifies, literally, the door of the two hills.
And so it was literally and actually a thunderbolt from a clear sky.
When picked up he was found to be literally shot through and through.
The party were literally hemmed in, almost without hope of escape.
But it was not tenantless as it is now, for as far as the eye could reach it would be literally black with game.
1530s, "in a literal sense," from literal + -ly (2). Erroneously used in reference to metaphors, hyperbole, etc., even by writers like Dryden and Pope, to indicate "what follows must be taken in the strongest admissible sense" (1680s), which is opposite to the word's real meaning and a long step down the path to the modern misuse of it.
We have come to such a pass with this emphasizer that where the truth would require us to insert with a strong expression 'not literally, of course, but in a manner of speaking', we do not hesitate to insert the very word we ought to be at pains to repudiate; ... such false coin makes honest traffic in words impossible. [Fowler, 1924]