* Main Entry: lit·er·al·ly
* Pronunciation: \ˈli-tə-rə-lē, ˈli-trə-lē, ˈli-tər-lē\
* Function: adverb
* Date: 1533
1 : in a literal sense or manner : actually (took the remark literally) (was literally insane)
2 : in effect : virtually (will literally turn the world upside down to combat cruelty or injustice — Norman Cousins)
Usage: Since some people take sense 2 to be the opposite of sense 1, it has been frequently criticized as a misuse. Instead, the use is pure hyperbole intended to gain emphasis, but it often appears in contexts where no additional emphasis is necessary.