literally vs figuratively

literally figuratively


  • 1) degree, proscribed used non-literally as an intensifier for figurative statements: virtually (often considered incorrect; see usage notes)
  • 2) speech act word for word; not figuratively; not as an idiom or metaphor
  • 3) UK, colloquial Used as a generic downtoner: just, merely.
  • 4) In a literal or strict sense.
  • 5) Really; actually.
  • 6) In a literal manner; word for word.
  • 7) Used as an intensive before a figurative expression.
  • 8) With close adherence to words; word by word.
  • 9) According to the primary and natural import of words; not figuratively.
  • 10) (intensifier before a figurative expression) without exaggeration
  • 11) in a literal sense


  • 1) speech act Used to indicate that what follows is to be taken as a figure of speech, not literally.
  • 2) manner In a figurative manner.
  • 3) in a figurative sense
  • 4) In a figurative manner; by means of a figure or resemblance; metaphorically or tropically.


  • 1) This car literally does it all.
  • 2) Take him both literally and seriously.
  • 3) People were literally freezing.
  • 4) This is really important and some savvy people literally map it.
  • 5) This idea should not be taken too literally.
  • 6) And people are quite literally eating it up.
  • 7) But it seems wrong that the man is literally allowed to get away with murder.
  • 8) Some people are literally born to run.
  • 9) It literally takes five seconds to change a schedule.
  • 10) People will literally be able to save for the planet.
  • 11) It literally makes us take leave of our senses and behave in ways we normally would not.
  • 12) People were literally laughing at how bad it was.
  • 13) It is to be hoped that no one takes her literally.
  • 14) It is also bringing people literally closer together.
  • 15) But should we take the images literally?
  • 16) This is the perfect way for me to have my cake and eat it, literally.
  • 17) They would literally kill get into Britain.
  • 18) It means you can have your cake and eat it, literally.
  • 19) She literally couldn't get there.
  • 20) My body literally gets blocked.
  • 21) I imagine the drivers would literally push their cars around, so as not to qualify first.
  • 22) The longer we take to tackle this, the bigger it gets - literally.
  • 23) By the end, as they tentatively step across the threshold, they are literally eating out of her hand.
  • 24) I was always singing round the house, in the car, literally the whole time.
  • 25) ‘Darsana literally means view, in the sense of having a cognitive sight of something.’
  • 26) ‘One wonders if he knows where the bodies are buried, perhaps quite literally.’
  • 27) ‘The ground on which the match is being played is, literally, next door to his mansion.’
  • 28) ‘What worries me is that these guys are going to run into problems literally the first day out.’
  • 29) ‘I'll be staying with villagers who live with landmines literally on their doorsteps.’
  • 30) ‘In some bizarre animator's joke, they were literally suspended, all hung in the air in a big room.’
  • 31) ‘A key point is that space should be owned and supervised, literally and metaphorically.’
  • 32) ‘The art of edging is to literally tip your skis sideways allowing the edge to cut into the snow.’
  • 33) ‘The event was literally hot with a fire dancer welcoming everybody with a puff of fire.’
  • 34) ‘Several huge branches were quite literally held in place by lengths of rope.’
  • 35) ‘The nuances, exaggerations and pretences of conversation can be taken literally.’
  • 36) ‘As soon as I heard the crash I looked up and he literally came through the roof.’
  • 37) ‘Police in Bradford are helping to show the way to other forces by proving literally that crime does not pay.’
  • 38) ‘The couple met three years ago when they literally bumped into each other at a Hampton Court funfair.’
  • 39) ‘Here is, literally, a national platform for a politician who aspires to be a national leader.’
  • 40) ‘Every Zulu thrust was repulsed by soldiers literally fighting for their lives.’
  • 41) ‘Bulbs were literally worth their weight in gold and the Dutch economy was in serious risk of collapse.’
  • 42) ‘According to his ex-wife, he literally ran away a number of times during their marriage.’
  • 43) ‘We kept him there for twenty more minutes, and when he had to leave we literally followed him to the door of his taxi cab.’
  • 44) ‘Of course the house was still standing after Bruce's encore so it didn't literally come down.’
  • 45) ‘There are literally thousands of techniques you can use, and it all depends on what rings true for you.’
  • 46) ‘This has brought us into contact with literally thousands who think as we do.’
  • 47) ‘On any given day there are literally thousands of people trying to kick the smoking habit.’
  • 48) ‘It is not surprising that she is, literally, the most prized journalist in America today.’
  • 49) ‘Two ushers had to literally pick the guy up out of his chair and drag him out.’
  • 50) ‘So what else did he do but literally pick me up and sat in the car with me practically sitting on him.’
  • 51) ‘Know that there are literally millions around the world who are with you in this moment.’
  • 52) ‘Just as the strings literally reach orgasm, what do I hear from the other sofa?’
  • 53) ‘I have spent literally hours on search engines, as have friends, and friends of friends.’
  • 54) ‘That first weekend I literally locked myself in my room, sleepless and without eating.’
  • 55) ‘In Milan I literally had to work my socks off to get on to a train to Paris.’
  • 56) ‘The last federal election came down to literally a handful of votes in some ridings.’
  • 57) ‘We can buy fresh lettuce, literally straight out of the ground, for nine pence.’
  • 58) ‘Dinner, which comes in menus of up to eight superb courses, literally frolics on your tongue.’
  • 59) ‘When he returned to York after the war he had a business plan which literally revolved around the motor car.’
  • 60) ‘I literally park there for five minutes while I walk my girls to the school gates and collect them.’
  • 61) ‘To provide that level of service we would be talking about spending literally millions of pounds.’
  • 62) ‘I literally don't know what the next sentence is, which is probably why my books are the way they are.’
  • 63) ‘He has literally put blood, sweat and tears into earning a living for his family, but it goes with the turf.’
  • 64) ‘He had literally turned my own sentence upon me and made me look an idiot.’


  • 1) The gallery specialises in contemporary figurative and landscape paintings.
  • 2) Her own work often walks a fine line between figurative art and something more elemental and emotional.
  • 3) Has photography rendered figurative art pointless?
  • 4) Photographs are allowed, but artists are still often uneasy about figurative paintings.
  • 5) So far, his art has remained figurative.
  • 6) His figurative work manages to be at once utterly contemporary and connected to the great lessons of European figurative art.
  • 7) An energetic retrospective of figurative and portrait paintings by the 20th-century American artist.
  • 8) Paradoxically, much figurative art uses excessive detail to cover up, to make things more dense and to deny space.
  • 9) A moving retrospective of figurative and portrait paintings by the US artist.
  • 10) I left figurative art because I was bored of it.
  • 11) Defeat at the hands I use the term figuratively of a box full of silicon and wires wastoo humiliating for Kasparov, a man who had never lost a multigame match against an individual opponent in his life!
  • 12) The term figuratively has reference to the Spanish conquest of the indigenous Indians of Mexico and the resulting mestizaje or the mixed racial and ethnic identity of indigenous, European and African heritage unique to the Americas.
  • 13) Some have suggested that Salem here is the Salim of John 3: 23; a few take the term figuratively as a title (see verse two) devoid of any geographical intent.
  • 14) To apply the term figuratively to the forces inherent in national character savoured of a literary indecorum.
  • 15) Or did the columnist mean to use the term figuratively as when individuals were "beaten up" by government hiring personnel who rejected their otherwise acceptable applications for employment because the resumes weren't ideologically pure enough?
  • 16) ‘His film nails the primal horror of not knowing what's beneath the surface—literally and figuratively.’
  • 17) ‘The curators have figuratively thrown open the doors to the tomb, let in the light, and shaken out clouds of ancient dust.’
  • 18) ‘After half an hour in a cubicle, I'm ready to climb the walls (figuratively), but it takes days of working up on the scaffold before things grow tiresome.’
  • 19) ‘What is it that viewers are seeing—literally and figuratively—when they see the Statue of Liberty, the Washington Monument, or the Lincoln Memorial on the screen?’
  • 20) ‘Earthquakes occur frequently during their visit, reminding them that the ground beneath their feet is extremely shaky, both literally and figuratively.’
  • 21) ‘His escape meant that he had to be figuratively executed, with the result that the people, ideas, and culture associated with him were outlawed and destroyed in his stead.’
  • 22) ‘I'm leaving the subject broad, hoping we can veer off down all kinds of different paths, figuratively and literally.’
  • 23) ‘In any event, we know that after drinking alcohol we often lose direction, literally and figuratively.’
  • 24) ‘The good citizens were so enraged that they rose up in arms, figuratively at least, and founded the civic society.’
  • 25) ‘The students are taught to swim with their heads, figuratively speaking.’
  • 26) ‘I liked moving the paint around, and I painted figuratively as an undergraduate student.’
  • 27) ‘Here we are cajoled into reading adjacent daubs figuratively, as melting body parts or mutant landscapes.’
  • 28) ‘Although there has been some buzz of late about young abstract painters in Los Angeles, much of the truly innovative new work has been figuratively based.’
  • 29) ‘When he painted figuratively, he rarely painted a specific person—it was always a condition, a feeling, or a state.’
  • 30) ‘Charlie, on the other hand, painted a complete abstract with no attempt to portray anything figuratively.’
  • 31) ‘She merged her body with nature, often figuratively, by creating silhouettes of her body out of such materials as flowers, rocks, blood, twigs, or earth.’
  • 32) ‘In Chicago, he had already begun to work figuratively and in the relatively "minor" medium of gouache on paper or board.’
  • 33) ‘At their very core—or lack of a core, both really and figuratively—Picasso's ceramics are three-dimensional repudiations of a certain strain of modernism.’
  • 34) ‘Working both figuratively and abstractly, in bronze, clay, and various print mediums, he showed in New York at a number of galleries.’

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