(noun, adjective)


1. being or reflecting the true or genuine character of something; real.

- a literal solitude like a desert

Similar word(s): true, actual, genuine, real

2. without interpretation or embellishment

- a literal depiction of the scene before him

Similar word(s): exact

3. limited to the explicit meaning of a word or text

- a literal translation

Similar word(s): exact, denotative, explicit, unrhetorical

4. avoiding embellishment or exaggeration (used for emphasis)

- it's the literal truth

Similar word(s): plain

Sentences with literal as an adjective:

- The literal translation is “hands full of bananas” but it means empty-handed.

- A literal reading of the law would prohibit it, but that is clearly not the intent.

- a literal equation


1. a mistake in printed matter resulting from mechanical failures of some kind

Similar word(s): erratum, misprint, typo

Definition categories: communication, error, mistake