• WordNet 3.6
    • adj literal without interpretation or embellishment "a literal depiction of the scene before him"
    • adj literal limited to the explicit meaning of a word or text "a literal translation"
    • adj literal avoiding embellishment or exaggeration (used for emphasis) "it's the literal truth"
    • adj literal being or reflecting the essential or genuine character of something "her actual motive","a literal solitude like a desert"- G.K.Chesterton","a genuine dilemma"
    • n literal a mistake in printed matter resulting from mechanical failures of some kind
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: The stomach of an adult can hold 1.5 liters of material
    • Literal According to the letter or verbal expression; real; not figurative or metaphorical; as, the literal meaning of a phrase. "It hath but one simple literal sense whose light the owls can not abide."
    • Literal Consisting of, or expressed by, letters. "The literal notation of numbers was known to Europeans before the ciphers."
    • Literal Following the letter or exact words; not free. "A middle course between the rigor of literal translations and the liberty of paraphrasts."
    • Literal Giving a strict or literal construction; unimaginative; matter-of-fact; -- applied to persons.
    • n Literal Literal meaning.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
  • Interesting fact: The amount of blood a female mosquito drinks per serving is five millionths of a liter
    • literal Consisting of, expressed by, or representing letters; alphabetic.
    • literal According to the letter of verbal expression. According to iuherent or fundamental purport; free from figure or variation of meaning; exact; precise; primary: as, the literal meaning of words used metaphorically; to use the most literal expressions.
    • literal Following the letter or exact words.
    • literal Exact; especially, mechanically precise: as, the too literal execution of an order.
    • literal Characterized by a tendency to regard everything in a matter-of-fact, unimaginative way: as, a very literal person.
    • literal Synonyms See verbal.
    • n literal Literal meaning.
    • literal Affecting or relating to a letter: as, literal errors, literal rhymes.
    • n literal In printing, a literal error; that is, a wrongly placed letter; a misprint.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: To manufacture a new car approximately 148,000 liters of water is needed.
    • adj Literal lit′ėr-al according to the letter: plain: not figurative or metaphorical: following the letter or exact meaning, word for word
    • ***


  • Glenn Close
    Glenn Close
    “I really think that effective acting has to do literally with the movement of molecules.”
  • Antonin Artaud
    “No one has ever written, painted, sculpted, modeled, built, or invented except literally to get out of hell.”
  • Napoleon Hill
    “The imagination is literally the workshop wherein are fashioned all plans created by man.”
  • Brian Friel
    Brian Friel
    “It is not the literal past, the facts of history, that shape us, but images of the past embodied in language.”
  • Anita Brookner
    “Romanticism is not just a mode; it literally eats into every life. Women will never get rid of just waiting for the right man.”
  • Sir Thomas Browne
    “We term sleep a death by which we may be literally said to die daily; in fine, so like death, I dare not trust it without my prayers.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
F. litéral, littéral, L. litteralis, literalis, fr. littera, litera, a letter. See Letter
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Fr.,—L. literalislitera, a letter.


In literature:

They were absurdly minute in the literal observance of their vows, and as shamefully subtile in their artful evasion of them.
"Curiosities of Literature, Vol. 1 (of 3)" by Isaac D'Israeli
His skull had been literally smashed in, as if it had received a blow from a sledge-hammer.
"The Gorilla Hunters" by R.M. Ballantyne
He told the literal truth, but not all the truth.
"The Brentons" by Anna Chapin Ray
Leucorrhea means literally a "white running," and is applied by the laity to any whitish discharge coming from the vagina.
"Woman" by William J. Robinson
We have now arrived at what may literally be called the turning-point of Turkish history.
"Historical Sketches, Volume I (of 3)" by John Henry Newman
Whether they are to be interpreted literally is hard to determine.
"Early Theories of Translation" by Flora Ross Amos
This he did almost literally.
"A Labrador Doctor" by Wilfred Thomason Grenfell
The snow was literally drenched with blood.
"The Swedish Revolution Under Gustavus Vasa" by Paul Barron Watson
The perplexities of the critics arise from their attempt to find in the parable a literalism never intended by the Author.
"Jesus the Christ" by James Edward Talmage
Use metaphor instead of literal statement.
"How to Write Clearly" by Edwin A. Abbott
Of course this was a humorous paradox, not to be taken literally, but it points a moral.
"A Book for All Readers" by Ainsworth Rand Spofford
At his death, Ronsard was almost literally buried under praises.
"Classic French Course in English" by William Cleaver Wilkinson
The negroes literally sprung back as they saw him with amazement, and on he bounded towards their chief.
"Old Jack" by W.H.G. Kingston
They are reprinted quite literally.
"The Trail of the Hawk" by Sinclair Lewis
That is the utter literal fact of what our ladies do in their pleasant lives.
"The Crown of Wild Olive" by John Ruskin
It is, literally, the building of character and the growth of the soul, as the highway of knowledge.
"The New Avatar and The Destiny of the Soul" by Jirah D. Buck
Lately he has got the notion that the churches do not believe the Bible literally enough.
"The Faith Doctor" by Edward Eggleston
But this mechanical dream is literally fulfilled in memory.
"A Man's Value to Society" by Newell Dwight Hillis
The breastworks of the small Serbian detachment were literally the center of a continuous explosion of shells.
"The Story of the Great War, Volume II (of VIII)" by Various
He will be able to add another notch to his stick, for he has literally broken my heart.
"Australia Revenged" by Boomerang

In poetry:

If, with the literate, I am
Impelled to try an epigram,
I never seek to take the credit;
We all assume that Oscar said it.
"Oscar Wilde" by Dorothy Parker
'Tis pity if the case require
(Or so we say) that in the end
We speak the literal to inspire
The understanding of a friend.
"Revelation" by Robert Frost
Books we do have for almost any
Literate mood, and notepaper, envelopes,
For a writing one (to "borrow" stamps
Is the mark of ill-breeding):
Between lunch and tea, perhaps a drive;
After dinner, music or gossip.
"For Friends Only" by W H Auden
And the French and British fought side by side
Until the Russians no longer the bayonet charge could abide,
And the Russians were literally scorched by the musketry fire,
And in a short time the Russians were forced to retire.
"The Battle of Inkermann" by William Topaz McGonagall
Do not ask about his lips…as elegant as the sunset
And his eyes, a shore of purity
And his waist, the sway of a branch
Charms…which no book has contained
Nor described by a literate's feather
And his chest, his throat, enough for you
"My Love (Do Not Ask Me)" by Nizar Qabbani
Then the next day at sunrise the tower door was opened wide,
And a bronzed and scarred Grenadier forth did glide;
Literally laden with muskets, and passed along the line of troops,
While in utter astonishment the Austrian Colonel upon him looks.
"The First Grenadier of France" by William Topaz McGonagall

In news:

But in the Valley, some students are literally curling and cutting their way through their college bills.
Times change, literally, for human culture and the cosmos as a whole.
Ginger, pounded 2 liters water 10 oz.
Watch WordGirl's Ludicrously Literate Library Week starting July 11 on PBS KIDS GO.
The NYPD has taken fire (literally and figuratively) from all fronts lately.
It was literally standing room only at Cross Cultural the Saturday night of April 28th.
Lobo Basketball fans will literally be howling at the moon.
Joe Biden is the Best Debater Who Ever Lived, Literally.
No, he was literally the color blue.
For Father's Day, some weighty reading — literal and otherwise — that gives new meaning to the coffee table.
Full 2 Liter Bottle of Coca-Cola.
Today Santa Barbara had the "A" – the most recent member of the giga -yacht club, and to put things in perspective, the fuel tank is 757,000 liters.
As you may know, Daily Intel has something of a little obsession with Andrew Cuomo's use of the word "literally".
Some bodies of their work are literal collaborations, conceived, developed, and actualized side-by-side.
It's time for you and your horse to hit the road, literally.

In science:

Moreover, for a given a → i, which of (1, 0) or (0, 1) can appear on ~ua→i will be completely determined by the sign of the corresponding literal.
Constraint Satisfaction by Survey Propagation
Also, conditioned on the number of clauses, Fk−1 is a uniformly random formula (each “slot” being equally likely to be filled by any of the remaining literals).
Random MAX SAT, Random MAX CUT, and Their Phase Transitions
First, observe that for any bicycle X ′ sharing no literals with X , Pr(X ′ ⊆ F | X ⊆ F ) 6 Pr(X ′ ⊆ F ) , and so such bicycles X ′ contribute 6 E Pk Bk = O(1/λ3 ) to the sum.
Random MAX SAT, Random MAX CUT, and Their Phase Transitions
In our first interpretation of online max 2-sat, Online I, when we accept a clause, we are also required to satisfy it immediately, by setting at least one of its literals True; once a variable is set, it may never be changed.
Random MAX SAT, Random MAX CUT, and Their Phase Transitions
Similarly, if ci is already satisfied by one of its literals, then it is best to accept it and to set no additional variables.
Random MAX SAT, Random MAX CUT, and Their Phase Transitions
It only remains to show that if ci is not satisfied by a variable already set, and at least one of its variables is not yet set, then an optimal algorithm must set one of its literals to True.
Random MAX SAT, Random MAX CUT, and Their Phase Transitions
Consider a putatively optimal algorithm Opt which does not do this, so for a literal X in ci , either Opt sets X to False, or it leaves X unset.
Random MAX SAT, Random MAX CUT, and Their Phase Transitions
In this case, similar arguments show that an optimal algorithm simply sets each new literal True.
Random MAX SAT, Random MAX CUT, and Their Phase Transitions
The next, 3.003, due to Frieze and Suen [FS96], used the “shortest-clause rule”, setting True a random literal from a random shortest clause.
The Satisfiability Threshold of Random 3-SAT Is at Least 3.52
Lalas, Selecting complementary pairs of literals, Manuscript.
The Satisfiability Threshold of Random 3-SAT Is at Least 3.52
Specifically, to generate a random k-CNF formula on n variables with m clauses we simply generate a string of km independent random literals, each such literal drawn uniformly from among all 2n possible ones.
Random k-SAT: Two Moments Suffice to Cross a Sharp Threshold
To get an idea of what Q typically looks like on {0, 1}n we begin by observing that the number of occurrences of a fixed literal ℓ, Bℓ , is distributed as Bin(km, 1/(2n)).
Random k-SAT: Two Moments Suffice to Cross a Sharp Threshold
For example, one such model is regular random k-SAT, in which every literal occurs exactly the same number of times.
Random k-SAT: Two Moments Suffice to Cross a Sharp Threshold
Probabilistic analysis of a generalization of the unit-clause literal selection heuristics for the k-satisfiability problem.
Random k-SAT: Two Moments Suffice to Cross a Sharp Threshold
If A is an action status atom, then A and ¬A are called actionstatus literals.
Logic-Based Specification Languages for Intelligent Software Agents