- In the direct, word for word sense. With neither idiom nor metaphor.
- When my sewing kit fell off of the barn loft, I had to look for a needle in a haystack.
- (proscribed) really, Really (as an intensifier; see usage notes)
- 1827: Sir Walter Scott, Chronicles of the Canongate
- : The house was electrified; and it was only from witnessing the effects of her genius that he could guess to what a pitch theatrical excellence could be carried.
- 1847: Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre
- : Literally, I was (what he often called me) the apple of his eye.
- 1850: Charles Dickens, David Copperfield.
- : ...there is never a candle lighted in this house, until one's eyes are falling out of one's head with being stretched to read the paper.
- 1894: Arthur Conan Doyle, The Memoirs of Sherlock Holmes.
- : ...at a time when Europe was ringing with his name and when his room was ankle-deep with congratulatory telegrams...
- 1895: Thomas Hardy, Jude the Obscure.
- : It was teeming, stratified, with the shades of human groups, who had met there for tragedy, comedy, farce...
- 1993: Wayne W. Dyer, Real Magic, p.193
- : You become the ball in a tennis match, you become the report that you are working on ...
- 1999 Oct 21: Ridley99, Re: 5 best comic artists ao all time, <tt>rec.arts.comics.misc</tt>, http://groups.google.com/group/rec.arts.comics.misc/msg/ecb8595ee6baaad9?dmode=source&hl=en
- : He can turn the world upside down with his gift of perspective and vanishing points.
- 2002: Norbert P. Psuty & Douglas D. Ofiara, Costal Hazard Management: lessons and future directions from New Jersey, p.247
- : The summer populations of beach communities explode, and the local infrastructure (roads, water, sewerage, waste hauling) either wear out or exceed their designed capacities more quickly.
- 2004 Mar 18: Zelgadis, Re: Hello Newsgroup, <tt>alt.games.everquest</tt>, http://groups.google.com/group/alt.games.everquest/msg/f475b309fe4ebb31?dmode=source&hl=en
- : He's just that bad that he was striped of his post count at one point, which caused him to explode into tears (hey, he even sent me an IM).
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Full Definition of literally