literal

[ lit-er-uhl ]
/ ˈlɪt ər əl /

adjective

noun

a typographical error, especially involving a single letter.

Origin of literal

1350–1400; Middle English < Late Latin litterālis “of letters.” See letter1, -al1
Related forms
Can be confusedliteral littoral
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

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British Dictionary definitions for literal

literal

/ (ˈlɪtərəl) /

adjective

noun

Also called: literal error a misprint or misspelling in a text
Derived Formsliteralness or literality (ˌlɪtəˈrælɪtɪ), noun

Word Origin for literal

C14: from Late Latin litterālis concerning letters, from Latin littera letter
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 literal

literal


adj.

late 14c., "taking words in their natural meaning" (originally in reference to Scripture and opposed to mystical or allegorical), from Old French literal and directly from Late Latin literalis/litteralis "of or belonging to letters or writing," from Latin litera/littera "letter, alphabetic sign; literature, books" (see letter (n.1)). Meaning "of or pertaining to alphabetic letters" is from late 15c. Sense of "verbally exact" is attested from 1590s, as is application to the primary sense of a word or passage. Literal-minded is attested from 1791.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper