Definition of actual in US English:



  • 1Existing in fact; typically as contrasted with what was intended, expected, or believed.

    ‘the estimate was much less than the actual cost’
    ‘those were his actual words’
    • ‘You know, there're only about five actual words in the whole of the song.’
    • ‘It is difficult to see how the actual words in the Constitution support her approach.’
    • ‘Under the actual facts of the case, the Court found that the judge had taken no actions of any significance.’
    • ‘Viable alternatives to oil will only emerge when real and actual necessity dictates it.’
    • ‘This is a work of fan fiction and holds no actual relevance to the real story.’
    • ‘It's like they're trying to find an excuse for having arrested him, ignoring the actual facts.’
    • ‘He read it literally as real, actual abuse meted out by an attacker on her victim.’
    • ‘I think maybe to read this blog you have to know the person and know what is going on in the actual real life.’
    • ‘My writing style was a lot more fluid and readable in the dream too, shame I don't remember any of the actual words.’
    • ‘This is despite the fact that the actual number of poor children has fallen.’
    • ‘In the real world, actual movements are made up of all manner of tendencies and impulses.’
    • ‘The actual cost of dealing with cancer can run into thousands of pounds.’
    • ‘These are not his actual words but they are a pretty close approximation from memory.’
    • ‘It is a pointer to the fact that the actual bill may, itself, be wrong and the estimate right.’
    • ‘This is the inexhaustible domain of what is real without being actual, what is not but which may be.’
    • ‘The actual cost of creating and maintaining that environment is minimal.’
    • ‘In other words, the actual price of the material and its selling price is very different.’
    • ‘There are actual real live people out there that Blog and I'm going to meet one, How exciting!’
    • ‘This came as no real surprise to the actual drivers who completely ignored the threat.’
    • ‘Somewhere in this mass of opinions and actual fact lies the truth about what is actually safe.’
    real, true, genuine, authentic, verified, attested, confirmed, definite, hard, plain, clear, clear-cut, undeniable, veritable
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    1. 1.1 Used to emphasize the important aspect of something.
      ‘the book could be condensed into half the space, but what of the actual content?’
      • ‘Now we know all about the actual car, the important part of the day was in the driving.’
      • ‘The site had become unkept and littered with refuse and waste, in particularly the actual pond itself.’
      • ‘All the hype on this one seems to have run ahead of the album's actual content and import.’
      • ‘As this has happened, the structure of the content, the actual text, has become more important.’
      • ‘It would be good to know something about the actual content of the meeting.’
      • ‘The website is as I though a triumph of pretentious style over actual content.’
      • ‘The two countries were almost at war and that is much more important than marking the day of the actual event.’
      • ‘A lot of people think it may be the actual intensity of the soundwave that's important.’
      • ‘So, the actual content of the cigarette is less important than its function.’
      • ‘It did make me want to buy one of his CD's, the actual rapping was good, he does has a very distinctive voice.’
      • ‘Thus, the actual footage of Carroll saying anything of importance is a bit limited.’
      • ‘The actual life experience of the therapist can be an extremely important factor.’
      • ‘One of the problems is that for a whole range of drink now, the actual alcohol content in them has gone up.’
      • ‘Names are great but it is the actual proceedings that underpin what we do that is important.’
      • ‘Such benefits are often known as use values, since they require actual participation to enjoy them.’
      • ‘Two of the most important factors are the topography of the seafloor and the actual shape of the shoreline.’
      • ‘In other words, the area in which they bought was more important than the actual house.’
      • ‘In this context, it's the fight against these systems that are more important than actual victory.’
      • ‘The doses were very small and were calculated to be small in terms of actual virus particles.’
      • ‘Japan is taking part in the peace process as host, but is not an actual participant.’
      exact, particular, very, specific, distinct
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  • 2Existing now; current.

    ‘using actual income to measure expected income’
    • ‘This is the gap that exists between the total future market potential and the current actual usage in the market.’
    • ‘Estimates which were lower than the actual income of the taxpayer were not appealed against.’
    • ‘Nor, at Lord's, is there an actual or present threat of people throwing bottles at players.’
    • ‘It will need simple but accurate budgets and forecasts to check against actual income and expenditure.’
    • ‘There is a dispute between the parties as to the actual income of the Respondent.’
    • ‘If people do not have details of their actual income for this tax year, they must provide an estimate.’
    • ‘Some people are very good at reducing their actual income to a low taxable income.’
    current, present, existing, existent, extant
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  • in actual fact

    • Used to emphasize a comment, typically one that modifies or contradicts a previous statement.

      ‘people talk as if he were a monster—in actual fact he was a very kind guy’
      • ‘No, in actual fact, I listen to many types of music including popular music.’
      • ‘I actually had the advantage of reading in detail his words and, in actual fact, he did not quite say that.’
      • ‘Sometimes a customer will ask for a maintenance contract when, in actual fact, they need a lot more.’
      • ‘In actual fact, the Brazilians could have scored more goals, but this did not happen.’
      • ‘Still, I haven't met many people who were kinder and more even-handed, or less racist in actual fact.’
      • ‘The accused, in actual fact, had not previously been to Cuba.’
      • ‘In actual fact, we appear to benefit from this change rather than suffer.’
      • ‘They SAID they loved you, but in actual fact, it turned out that they didn't.’
      • ‘But in actual fact, dance classes are fun, active and educational, whether your kid's a budding Bonnie or not.’
      • ‘In actual fact, it was a pleasant encounter and it is nice to see that coming out of our Police Force.’
      really, in fact, in actuality, in point of fact, as a matter of fact, in reality, actually, in truth, if truth be told, to tell the truth
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Middle English: from Old French actuel ‘active, practical’, from late Latin actualis, from actus (see act).