(redirected from literalized)
Also found in: Thesaurus, Legal, Encyclopedia.


1. Conforming or limited to the simplest, nonfigurative, or most obvious meaning of a word or words.
2. Word for word; verbatim: a literal translation.
3. Avoiding exaggeration, metaphor, or embellishment; factual; prosaic: a literal description; a literal mind.
4. Consisting of, using, or expressed by letters: literal notation.
n. Computers
A letter or symbol that stands for itself as opposed to a feature, function, or entity associated with it in a programming language: $ can be a symbol that refers to the end of a line, but as a literal, it is a dollar sign.

[Middle English, from Old French, from Late Latin litterālis, of letters, from Latin littera, lītera, letter; see letter.]

lit′er·al·ness n.


1. in exact accordance with or limited to the primary or explicit meaning of a word or text
2. word for word
3. dull, factual, or prosaic
4. consisting of, concerning, or indicated by letters
5. true; actual
6. (Mathematics) maths containing or using coefficients and constants represented by letters: ax2 + b is a literal expression. Compare numerical3a
(Literary & Literary Critical Terms) Also called: literal error a misprint or misspelling in a text
[C14: from Late Latin litterālis concerning letters, from Latin littera letter]
ˈliteralness, literality n


(ˈlɪt ər əl)

1. in accordance with, involving, or being the primary or strict meaning of a word or words; not figurative or metaphorical.
2. following the words of the original very closely and exactly: a literal translation.
3. true to fact; unembellished; actual or factual: a literal description of conditions.
4. being actually such, without exaggeration or inaccuracy: the literal extermination of a city.
5. tending to construe words in the strict sense or in an unimaginative way.
6. of, pertaining to, or expressed by the letters of the alphabet.
7. affecting a letter or letters: a literal error.
8. a typographical error, esp. involving a single letter.
[1350–1400; < Late Latin litterālis of letters. See letter, -al1]
lit′er•al•ness, n.


1. 'literal'

The literal meaning of a word is its most basic meaning.

She was older than I was, and not only in the literal sense.
The literal meaning of the Greek word hamartia, translated as sin, is 'missing the mark'.
2. 'literary'

Literary words and expressions are used to create a special effect in poems or novels, and are not usually used in ordinary speech or writing.

'Awaken' and 'waken' are old-fashioned or literary words.

Literary also means 'connected with literature'.

...literary critics.
...literary magazines.
3. 'literate'

A literate person is able to read and write.

Only half the children are literate.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.literal - a mistake in printed matter resulting from mechanical failures of some kindliteral - a mistake in printed matter resulting from mechanical failures of some kind
mistake, error - part of a statement that is not correct; "the book was full of errors"
Adj.1.literal - being or reflecting the essential or genuine character of somethingliteral - 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"
true - consistent with fact or reality; not false; "the story is true"; "it is undesirable to believe a proposition when there is no ground whatever for supposing it true"- B. Russell; "the true meaning of the statement"
2.literal - without interpretation or embellishment; "a literal depiction of the scene before him"
exact - marked by strict and particular and complete accordance with fact; "an exact mind"; "an exact copy"; "hit the exact center of the target"
3.literal - limited to the explicit meaning of a word or text; "a literal translation"
exact - marked by strict and particular and complete accordance with fact; "an exact mind"; "an exact copy"; "hit the exact center of the target"
unrhetorical - not rhetorical
figurative, nonliteral - (used of the meanings of words or text) not literal; using figures of speech; "figurative language"
4.literal - avoiding embellishment or exaggeration (used for emphasis); "it's the literal truth"
plain - not elaborate or elaborated; simple; "plain food"; "stuck to the plain facts"; "a plain blue suit"; "a plain rectangular brick building"


1. exact, close, strict, accurate, faithful, verbatim, word for word a literal translation
3. actual, real, true, simple, plain, genuine, gospel, bona fide, unvarnished, unexaggerated He was saying no more than the literal truth.


Employing the very same words as another:
حَرْفيحَرْفي الفَهْم أو التَّرْجَمَه
asılgerçekkelimesi kelimesinesözlük anlamı


1. [sense, translation] → literal
they follow a literal interpretation of the Biblesiguen la Biblia al pie de la letra
to be literal about sthtomar algo al pie de la letra
he's a very literal persones una persona que todo se lo toma al pie de la letra
see also literal-minded
2. (as intensifier) a literal factun hecho real
the literal truthla pura verdad
B. N (Typ) → errata f


[ˈlɪtərəl] adj [sense, meaning, translation] → littéral(e)


(esp Typ) literal errorSchreib-/Tipp-/Druckfehler m
translation, meaning, sensewörtlich; in the literal sense (of the word)im wörtlichen Sinne
(= real) that is the literal truthdas ist die reine Wahrheit; it was a literal disasteres war im wahrsten Sinne des Wortes eine Katastrophe; the literal impossibility of working theredie völlige or buchstäbliche Unmöglichkeit, dort zu arbeiten
(= prosaic)nüchtern, prosaisch; he has a very literal mind or is very literal-mindeder denkt sehr nüchtern, er ist sehr prosaisch
nSchreib-/Tipp-/Druckfehler m


1. adj (meaning, translation) → letterale; (account) → testuale; (person) → prosaico/a
2. n (Brit) (Typ) → refuso


(ˈlitərəl) adjective
1. following the exact meaning with no exaggeration. the literal truth.
2. understanding the meaning by taking one word at a time. a literal translation.
ˈliteralness noun
ˈliterally adverb
We had literally a minute to catch the train.
References in periodicals archive ?
To be honest, when I read his memoires, I thought that he literalized some aspects of his story.
This more global effect can be better understood if we recollect how metaphors are literalized in Dickens's novels: Mr.
This connection is epitomized and literalized in the last section of Millennial Masculinity, "Facing Race," by way of Claire Sisco King's reading of I Am Legend and Gina Marchetti's chapter on the Rush Hour franchise.
T he poet Heinrich Heine famously observed, two centuries ago, that where they burn books today they burn humans tomorrow, and Adolf Hitler literalized that a century later with massive book-burnings that eventually led to crematoria.
Wigley, examining "the intense fantasies people have about buildings in general and the twins in particular"--the way "we use buildings to construct an image of what we would like the body to be"--elucidates how terrifying it was when, on 9/11, collective-unconscious associations between body and building were literalized in an event that destroyed both, the consequence of which was a traumatic loss of the nation's illusion of invulnerability and geographic exceptionalism with regard to violence.
Performed at GUTTED, LACE's annual performance night benefit show; the duo's piece literalized the evening's call for visceral performance.
The literalized metaphor promotes a subservient, dependent attitude unfavorable to healthy spiritual growth.
The trouble with the resurrection is that we have literalized it, made of it a creedal dogma, and individualized it as an event for our personal salvation.
Where the recuperative journey toward post-traumatic survival is literalized by the punctual achievement of narrative intelligibility, structural stasis or affective detours bewilder and derange peregrinations of healing.
This fantastic animation is sought for language by trafficking between figurative and literal animals and by literalizing metaphor itself as animal "transport" or carryover, as if its status as metaphor might be elided by the equation of its literalized "is.
For this essay, located in the virtually immediate present, and implicitly connected to the ongoing "war on terror" through 9/11, brings together several concerns that resonate throughout this volume, including not least the co-implication of nation with empire and the local with the global, literalized here through Hart's "shifting the analysis of British national identity to the Financial District of New York" (19).