a. In a literal, exact, or actual sense; not figuratively, allegorically, etc.
b. Used to indicate that the following word or phrase must be taken in its literal sense, usu. to add emphasis.
c. colloq. Used to indicate that some (freq. conventional) metaphorical or hyperbolical expression is to be taken in the strongest admissible sense: ‘virtually, as good as’; (also) ‘completely, utterly, absolutely’.Now one of the most common uses, although often considered irregular in standard English since it reverses the original sense of literally (‘not figuratively or metaphorically’).
a. With reference to a version of something, as a transcription, translation, etc.: in the very words, word for word.
a. With or by the letters (of a word). Obs. rare.
► indicates date of composition for this text (as opposed to date of documentary evidence). More