as an actual or existing fact; really.

Origin of actually

late Middle English word dating back to 1400–50; see origin at actual, -ly Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for actually

Contemporary Examples of actually

Historical Examples of actually

  • To the disgust of the latter, Robert actually had the presumption to walk home with Hester.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • He has the soul of a merchant tailor, actually, but not the tailor's manhood.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • In some countries it actually took the place of the old tribal dialect.

    Ancient Man

    Hendrik Willem van Loon

  • The picture is almost comic in its incongruity with what actually is.

  • They all laughed, not boisterously, actually an appreciative laugh.

British Dictionary definitions for actually



  1. as an actual fact; really
  2. (as sentence modifier)actually, I haven't seen him
at present
informal a parenthetic filler used to add slight emphasisI don't know, actually
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for actually

early 15c., "in fact, in reality" (as opposed to in possibility), from actual + -ly (2). Meaning "actively, vigorously" is from mid-15c.; that of "at this time, at present" is from 1660s. As an intensive added to a statement and suggesting "as a matter of fact, really, in truth" it is attested from 1762.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper