Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Date: 1300-1400
Language: French
Origin: Medieval Latin literalis, from Latin littera; LETTER1


1 the literal meaning of a word or expression is its basic or original meaning [↪ figurative]
literal meaning/sense/interpretation etc
A trade war is not a war in the literal sense.

literal translation

SL a translation that translates each word exactly instead of giving the general meaning in a more natural way [≠ free]


not showing much imagination
literalness noun [uncountable]

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