May 10, 2012
literal (adjective)
\LIT-uh-rul\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
1 a : following the ordinary or usual meaning of the words b : true to fact : plain, unadorned c : concerned mainly with facts2 : of, relating to, or expressed in letters3 : done word for word : exact, verbatim
How do you use it?
The story he told was basically true, even if it wasn't the literal truth.
Are you a word wiz?

It's a fact that "literal" traces ultimately to one of the languages listed below. Which one do you think it is?

"Literal" has its roots in Latin. It comes from the Latin word "littera" meaning "letter," as in one of the marks that are symbols for speech sounds in writing or print and that make up the alphabet. The word "letter" itself also traces to "littera." Other members of the "littera" family also have something to do with letters. "Alliteration" refers to the repetition of a sound at the beginning of two or more neighboring words (as in "wild" and "woolly" or "a babbling brook"). "Literate" means able to read or write. And "transliterate" means to represent or spell something in the characters of another alphabet.
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