Tuesday, 25th February 2014

by Joshua Gaskell

Literally, adv.

Pronunciation: /ˈlɪt(ə)rəli/
Etymology: < literal adj. + -ly suffix

1. In a literal, exact, or actual sense; not figuratively, allegorically, etc.
2. Contronymous to sense 1, in a non-literal, inexact, or non-actual sense; figuratively, allegorically, etc. (perh. confused with laterally adv., to or from the side; in a side direction; sideways). This perversion has made literally unusable by careful writers.

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WEBMASTER

What he doesn’t admit is that the first recorded use of the perversion dates from 1769, in The History of Emily Montague by Frances Brooke: ‘He is a fortunate man to be introduced to such a party of fine women at his arrival; it is literally to feed among the lilies.’

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