Literal Definition

Based on the actual words in their ordinary meaning; not figurative or symbolic.
The literal meaning of a passage.
Webster's New World
Following or representing the exact words of the original; word-for-word.
A literal translation.
Webster's New World
Of, involving, or expressed by a letter or letters of the alphabet.
Literal notation.
Webster's New World
Giving the actual denotation of the word.
Webster's New World
Avoiding exaggeration, metaphor, or embellishment; factual; prosaic.
A literal description; a literal mind.
American Heritage
A typographical error.
Webster's New World
A letter or symbol that stands for itself as opposed to a feature, function, or entity associated with it in a programming language.
$ can be a symbol that refers to the end of a line, but as a literal, it is a dollar sign.
American Heritage

(logic) A propositional variable or the negation of a propositional variable.


Other Word Forms of Literal



Origin of Literal

  • From Old French literal, from Late Latin litteralis, also literalis (“of or pertaining to letters or to writing"), from Latin littera, litera (“a letter"); see letter.

    From Wiktionary

  • Middle English from Old French from Late Latin litterālis of letters from Latin littera, lītera letter letter

    From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition

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