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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.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.literalness - adhereing to the concrete construal of something
concreteness - the quality of being concrete (not abstract)
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
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(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.
Kernerman English Multilingual Dictionary © 2006-2013 K Dictionaries Ltd.
References in classic literature ?
"Yes, but the house doesn't belong to me." She was a long, lean, pale person, habited apparently in a dull-colored dressing gown, and she spoke with a kind of mild literalness. She did not ask me to sit down, any more than years before(if she were the niece) she had asked Mrs.
Bread, with timid literalness. "Oh, sir, I haven't my cap.
Rachel read what she chose, reading with the curious literalness of one to whom written sentences are unfamiliar, and handling words as though they were made of wood, separately of great importance, and possessed of shapes like tables or chairs.
Nothing we ever do is, in strict scientific literalness, wiped out.
It is immature, not because it questions the very notion of a wise God (for the record, that's a good question), but because it understands the story in literal terms, and then proceeds to ridicule the literalness of it.
The literalness of Glenn Kaino's recent work is surprising.
But those same earnest songs composed by musicians Jackson Odell and Brett Boyett bludgeon us with the storys emotions and themes with such ker-thudding literalness, its as if Wolf didnt trust her actors to convey them.
For myself, I would certainly agree with David Luke that in translating Faust, "readable prosodic correspondence must be allowed priority over referential literalness."
"The artist uses the body as a kind of tropological platform from which to illuminate these issues in their own complexity and in the imaginal complexity of art, without falling into the prevailing literalness of socially critical art in her country.
Continue reading "Daf Yomi: Debating the Literalness of 'An Eye for an Eye'" at...