[ ver-ee ]
/ ˈvɛr i /
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in a high degree; extremely; exceedingly: A giant is very tall.
(used as an intensive emphasizing superlatives or stressing identity or oppositeness): the very best thing; in the very same place as before.
adjective, (Obsolete) ver·i·er, ver·i·est.
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Origin of very

1200–50; Middle English <Anglo-French; Old French verai (French vrai) <Vulgar Latin *vērācus, for Latin vērāx truthful, equivalent to vēr(us) true (cognate with Old English wǣr,German wahr true, correct) + -āx adj. suffix

grammar notes for very

Past participles that have become established as adjectives can, like most English adjectives, be modified by the adverb very : a very driven person; We were very concerned for your safety. Very does not modify past participles that are clearly verbal; for example, The lid was very sealed is not an idiomatic construction, while The lid was very tightly sealed is. Sometimes confusion arises over whether a given past participle is adjectival and thus able to be modified by very without an intervening adverb. However, there is rarely any objection to the use of this intervening adverb, no matter how the past participle is functioning. Such use often occurs in edited writing: We were very much relieved to find the children asleep. They were very greatly excited by the news. I feel very badly cheated.


much, very (see usage note at the current entry)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use very in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for very

/ (ˈvɛrɪ) /

(intensifier) used to add emphasis to adjectives that are able to be gradedvery good; very tall
adjective (prenominal)
(intensifier) used with nouns preceded by a definite article or possessive determiner, in order to give emphasis to the significance, appropriateness or relevance of a noun in a particular context, or to give exaggerated intensity to certain nounsthe very man I want to see; his very name struck terror; the very back of the room
(intensifier) used in metaphors to emphasize the applicability of the image to the situation describedhe was a very lion in the fight
  1. real or true; genuinethe very living God
  2. lawfulthe very vengeance of the gods

Word Origin for very

C13: from Old French verai true, from Latin vērax true, from vērus true

usage for very

In strict usage adverbs of degree such as very, too, quite, really, and extremely are used only to qualify adjectives: he is very happy; she is too sad. By this rule, these words should not be used to qualify past participles that follow the verb to be, since they would then be technically qualifying verbs. With the exception of certain participles, such as tired or disappointed, that have come to be regarded as adjectives, all other past participles are qualified by adverbs such as much, greatly, seriously, or excessively: he has been much (not very) inconvenienced; she has been excessively (not too) criticized
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

Other Idioms and Phrases with very


The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.