- The definition of literal is a translation that strictly follows the exact words.
An example of literal is the belief that the world was created in exactly six days with the seventh day devoted to rest, as per Genesis in the Bible.
literal definition by Webster's New World
- of, involving, or expressed by a letter or letters of the alphabet: literal notation
- following or representing the exact words of the original; word-for-word: a literal translation
- based on the actual words in their ordinary meaning; not figurative or symbolic: the literal meaning of a passage
- giving the actual denotation of the word: said of the senses of words
- giving the original or earlier meaning of a word; etymological: the literal meaning of ponder is “to weigh”
- habitually interpreting statements or words according to their actual denotation; prosaic; matter-of-fact: a literal mind
- having a literal mind; lacking imagination
- real; not going beyond the actual facts; accurate; unvarnished: the literal truth
- being so in fact but not in name; virtual: the chairperson is a literal dictator
Origin: Middle English litterall ; from Middle French litteral ; from Late Latin litteralis ; from Classical Latin littera, letter
- literalness noun
literal definition by American Heritage Dictionary
- Being in accordance with, conforming to, or upholding the exact or primary meaning of a word or words.
- Word for word; verbatim: a literal translation.
- Avoiding exaggeration, metaphor, or embellishment; factual; prosaic: a literal description; a literal mind.
- Consisting of, using, or expressed by letters: literal notation.
- Conforming or limited to the simplest, nonfigurative, or most obvious meaning of a word or words.
Origin: Middle English, from Old French, from Late Latin litterālis, of letters, from Latin littera, lītera, letter; see letter.
- litˈer·al·ness noun
literal - Computer Definition
In programming, any data written into the program that remains unchanged when translated into machine language. Examples are values used for calculations as well as text messages displayed on screen. In the following lines of code, the literals are 1 and the value is one. See string literal and numeric literal. if x = 1 print "the value is one" endif