Definition of Literal

1. Adjective. Being or reflecting the essential or genuine character of something. "A genuine dilemma"

Exact synonyms: Actual, Genuine, Real
Similar to: True
Derivative terms: Genuineness, Literalness, Reality, Reality, Realness

2. Noun. A mistake in printed matter resulting from mechanical failures of some kind.
Exact synonyms: Erratum, Literal Error, Misprint, Typo, Typographical Error
Generic synonyms: Error, Mistake
Derivative terms: Misprint

3. Adjective. Without interpretation or embellishment. "A literal depiction of the scene before him"
Similar to: Exact
Derivative terms: Literalness

4. Adjective. Limited to the explicit meaning of a word or text. "A literal translation"
Also: Exact, Unrhetorical
Similar to: Denotative, Explicit
Antonyms: Figurative
Derivative terms: Literalness

5. Adjective. Avoiding embellishment or exaggeration (used for emphasis). "It's the literal truth"
Similar to: Plain

Definition of Literal

1. a. According to the letter or verbal expression; real; not figurative or metaphorical; as, the literal meaning of a phrase.

2. n. Literal meaning.

Definition of Literal

1. Adjective. Exactly as stated; read or understood without additional interpretation; according to the letter or verbal expression; real; not figurative or metaphorical. ¹

2. Adjective. Following the letter or exact words; not free; not taking liberties. ¹

3. Adjective. (uncommon) Consisting of, or expressed by, letters. ¹

4. Noun. (programming) A value, as opposed to an identifier, written into the source code of a computer program. ¹

5. Noun. (logic) A propositional variable or the negation of a propositional variable.[ ¹

¹ Source:

Definition of Literal

1. a small error in printing or writing [n -S]

Lexicographical Neighbors of Literal

litchi nut
litchi tree
literal (current term)
literal agraphia
literal belief
literal error
literal interpretation
literal rule

Literary usage of Literal

Below you will find example usage of this term as found in modern and/or classical literature:

1. Yearbook of the National Society for the Study of Education by National Society for the Study of Education (1908)
"The literal historian, who has based his work chiefly on the literary records, ... The literal historian who writes through monuments has preserved the same ..."

2. A Manual of Composition and Rhetoric: A Text-book for Schools and Colleges by John Seely Hart (1883)
"The metaphorical and the literal should not be mixed in the same sentence. Eule Explained. -A metaphor having been introduced into a sentence, ..."

3. Statutes and Statutory Construction: Including a Discussion of Legislative by Jabez Gridley Sutherland (1904)
"The literal sense not controlling.—The mere literal construction of a section in a statute ought not to prevail if it is opposed to the intention of the ..."

4. The Harleian Miscellany: Or, A Collection of Scarce, Curious, and by William Oldys, John Malham (1810)
"But our present enquiry is of the physical and literal sense, especially of these words (in the heaven) where the stork seems to be and reside, ..."

5. The Monthly Review by Charles William Wason (1835)
"A literal Interlineal Translation of the First Ten Chapters of Gregory'* Conspectus ... of Gregory's Conspectus, or even to comprehend its literal force. ..."

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