[ lit-er-uhl ]
/ ˈlɪt ər əl /
in accordance with, involving, or being the primary or strict meaning of the word or words; not figurative or metaphorical: the literal meaning of a word.
following the words of the original very closely and exactly: a literal translation of Goethe.
true to fact; not exaggerated; actual or factual: a literal description of conditions.
being actually such, without exaggeration or inaccuracy: the literal extermination of a city.
(of persons) tending to construe words in the strict sense or in an unimaginative way; matter-of-fact; prosaic.
of or relating to the letters of the alphabet.
of the nature of letters.
expressed by letters.
affecting a letter or letters: a literal error.
a typographical error, especially involving a single letter.
Why Do We Call It A “Wife Beater” Shirt?How did the violent term "wife beater" become associated with a piece of clothing anyway? For that, we take an etymological and sartorial tour through time.
lit·er·al·ness, nounnon·lit·er·al, adjectivenon·lit·er·al·ly, adverbnon·lit·er·al·ness, noun
o·ver·lit·er·al, adjectiveun·lit·er·al, adjectiveun·lit·er·al·ly, adverb
Can be confusedliteral littoral
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
British Dictionary definitions for non-literal
/ (ˈlɪtərəl) /
in exact accordance with or limited to the primary or explicit meaning of a word or text
word for word
dull, factual, or prosaic
consisting of, concerning, or indicated by letters
maths containing or using coefficients and constants represented by letters: ax² + b is a literal expressionCompare numerical (def. 3a)
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