Tuesday, January 26, 2010


I’m pretty sure most of the worlds population doesn’t know what the term “literally” means.  I like Dictionary.com’s explanation.  It literally means:

Pronunciation: [lit-er-uh-lee]
IPA: /ˈlɪt ər ə li/


    1. in the literal or strict sense: What does the word mean literally?
    2. in a literal manner; word for word: to translate literally.
    3. actually; without exaggeration or inaccuracy: The city was literally destroyed.
    4. in effect; in substance; very nearly; virtually

    Notice it says “without exaggeration”, but most people use

    it for exaggeration.  This is especially embarrassing when TV personalities or talk show hosts (rhymes with “Goprah”) abuse this word.  Just some examples I have heard were:

    • “It literally took forever…” –There is no way to know that about anything.  If it literally took forever, you would still be waiting for it to happen.
    • “It literally turned the world upside down.” –No, it didn’t.  The world did not physically move or shift one bit as a result.
    • “I was literally blown away, it was so good!” –This needs some interpretation, but it either means you are dead right now or a wind was so strong it actually moved you from one location to another.

    I hope people are getting this.  In a time when exaggeration no longer has any effect, people go above and beyond and abuse this buzzword, which it turns makes them look ignorant.

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