- Language Note
|part of speech:
||in a literal manner; strictly.
If you translate some expressions literally--"eager beaver," for example-- you can produce some humorous results in the other language.
- similar words:
- to the letter
||without exaggeration; in complete truth; really.
The farmer literally worked from morning until night.
means "in fact, exactly, or really." Figuratively
means the opposite. When you speak figuratively, you compare a real situation with a made-up, usually exaggerated situation. Sometimes people say "literally" when they mean "figuratively," as in "It was so hot, I was literally melting from the heat." Literally, that's not a pretty picture. If you're not sure which one of these words to use, be safe and don't use either. "I stopped dead in my tracks" is better than "I literally stopped dead in my tracks."