1. in the literal or strict sense: She failed to grasp the metaphor and interpreted the poem literally. 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: I literally died when she walked out on stage in that costume.
Can be confused
figuratively, virtually (see usage note at the current entry)
Since the early 19th century, literally has been widely used as an intensifier meaning “in effect, virtually,” a sense that contradicts the earlier meaning “actually, without exaggeration”: The senator was literally buried alive in the Iowa primaries. The parties were literally trading horses in an effort to reach a compromise. The use is often criticized; nevertheless, it appears in all but the most carefully edited writing. Although this use of literally irritates some, it probably neither distorts nor enhances the intended meaning of the sentences in which it occurs. The same might often be said of the use of literally in its earlier sense “actually”: The garrison was literally wiped out: no one survived.
See more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Origin: 1525-35; literal + -ly
Now YOU come up with a sentence (or fic? or graphic?) that best illustrates the word.