Talk

Advanced search

Literally....

(9 Posts)
verybadhairdoo Sat 09-Mar-19 14:16:44

I've just read a friend's post of Facebook. She was, apparently, 'literally laughing her head off' . hmm I think not!

verybadhairdoo Sat 09-Mar-19 14:18:35

On Facebook (clearly). Bloody auto-text!!

WarpedGalaxy Sat 09-Mar-19 14:21:49

Well, since one of the accepted dictionary definitions of ‘literally’ is figuratively these days, she’s technically right. Don’t eat me, I don’t like it either but if the OED says it’s ok, what are we going to do?

Boyskeepswinging Sat 09-Mar-19 14:23:56

One of my pet hates. A colleague was pissed off when I pointed out that they did not "literally die" when something happened to them over the weekend, otherwise they would not be at work confused

Boyskeepswinging Sat 09-Mar-19 14:25:54

Well, since one of the accepted dictionary definitions of ‘literally’ is figuratively these days, she’s technically right. Don’t eat me, I don’t like it either but if the OED says it’s ok, what are we going to do?
Seriously?? Jeez that is just depressing. No wonder my colleague couldn't understand what I was on about. I shall shut up in future.

MorelloKisses Sat 09-Mar-19 14:29:34

I read on mumsnet the other day someone admonish someone: ‘it’s not literally xyz, it is actually xyz’ and that hurt my head a bit.

Perhaps they only know the meaning of ‘literally’ to be ‘figuratively’.

Seriously, twisting my melon!

verybadhairdoo Sat 09-Mar-19 18:51:22

Morello, that hurts my head too!!

DavidDavidDavid Sun 10-Mar-19 16:43:45

Are you sure the OED recognises it being used to mean figuratively? I'm aware that dictionaries recognise it as an intensifier rather than to mean "actually". That secondary meaning goes back centuries - eg I've seen examples by Dickens and Austen.

It's usually clear from context. I also saw the example that Morello quotes, and thought it was clear that literally was meaning actually so the follow-up comment "it's not literally illegal, it's actually illegal" confused me too.

Cel982 Tue 02-Apr-19 22:26:34

I know I'll be going against the grain here, but the whole point of using 'literally' in that way is to be hyperbolic. If someone says "I was dead on my feet, figuratively speaking" it doesn't have anything like the same effect. So I think it's an acceptable use of the word, in the context of the listener knowing that 'literally' is being used for emphasis rather than meant to be taken, well, literally wink

Join the discussion

Registering is free, quick, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Get started »