1. In a literal manner; word for word: translated the Greek passage literally.
2. In a literal or strict sense: Don't take my remarks literally.
3. Actually; in effect; practically. Used as an intensive to emphasize a figurative statement in an exaggerated way: “There are people in the world who literally do not know how to boil water” (Craig Claiborne). I was so angry that my heart literally exploded with rage.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.