Definition of very in US English:



  • 1In a high degree.

    ‘very much so’
    ‘very large’
    ‘very quickly’
    • ‘The crystalline state is one in which there is a very high degree of internal order.’
    • ‘He did very poorly in his degree and had to settle for only a pass degree.’
    • ‘People seem to take the idea of Kevin Bacon, and his Six degrees, very seriously.’
    • ‘It was very tense, especially when we went a goal behind in the first half.’
    • ‘Attacks on anyone who opposes these organisations quickly become very personal.’
    • ‘It was a bit strange really, and very frustrating especially as we had a chance to get something from the game.’
    • ‘Lettuce, be it red or green, smooth or crinkly, germinates very quickly and is soon ready to eat.’
    • ‘However, it is plain that the Statute requires a very high degree of specificity.’
    • ‘Life is very busy and extra commotion in the background annoys me more than anything.’
    • ‘But my memory of disagreements is balanced by how very quickly they always made it up.’
    • ‘The numbers became very large very quickly but I would keep going quite a while.’
    • ‘Many seas are tideless, and the waters of some are saline only in a very slight degree.’
    • ‘Despite a good lap on wet tyres it dried very quickly and he was pushed down to eighth position.’
    • ‘Twelve months is a long time and has seen two very significant developments.’
    • ‘She sensed someone moving very quickly after her before she was hit from behind and had her bag snatched.’
    • ‘We reorganised and realigned very quickly and eventually there was nowhere for England to go.’
    • ‘There has been a very high degree of co-operation between everyone involved in this case.’
    • ‘Brittany, like other regions of France, has a very rich and distinct history which is all its own.’
    • ‘This is something that you learn quite quickly and is very easy to exploit if you want free technical support.’
    • ‘A new form of ultrasound scan can show foetuses at very early degrees of development.’
    • ‘The cars come down this road very quickly and we have seen quite a few accidents.’
    extremely, exceedingly, exceptionally, especially, tremendously, immensely, vastly, hugely
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    1. 1.1with superlative or own Used to emphasize that the following description applies without qualification.
      ‘the very best quality’
      ‘his very own car’
      • ‘I've seen a lot of movies, but this is truly one of the very best I could ever hope to see.’


  • 1Actual; precise (used to emphasize the exact identity of a particular person or thing)

    ‘those were his very words’
    ‘he might be phoning her at this very moment’
    ‘transformed before our very eyes’
    • ‘He was quickly displaying the very mental toughness which has been lacking among his players.’
    exact, actual, precise, particular, specific, distinct
    ideal, perfect, appropriate, suitable, apt, fitting, fit, right, just right, made to order, tailor-made
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    1. 1.1 Emphasizing an extreme point in time or space.
      ‘from the very beginning of the book’
      ‘at the very back of the skull’
      furthest, farthest, furthermost, farthermost, farthest away, furthest away, utmost, outermost, most distant, aftermost, endmost, ultimate, final, last, terminal, remotest
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    2. 1.2 With no addition of or contribution from anything else; mere.
      ‘the very thought of drink made him feel sick’
      mere, simple, pure, pure and simple, plain, basic
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    3. 1.3archaic Real; genuine.
      ‘the very God of Heaven’
      proper, true, rightly so called
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  • not very

    • 1In a low degree.

      ‘“Bad news?” “Not very.”’
    • 2Far from being.

      ‘I'm not very impressed’
      • ‘It's not very surprising that Ricks mentions the song only once, in passing.’
      • ‘I went out at about 11 and saw one or two streaks though it was not very impressive.’
      • ‘Rough weather and running out of diesel are not very plausible reasons.’
      • ‘My friend was not very impressed and it was obvious that he did not want to know anything about Islam.’
      • ‘Behind us stood a few of those from the most extremist of the settlers, not very satisfied that we had arrived to Hebron.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, there's a lot of it lying around in not very secure places.’
      • ‘Sadly for Rogers, he missed the not very difficult conversion, and those were the crucial two points.’
      • ‘The second boy was not very tall but well built with spiky fair hair.’
      • ‘We were not very impressed to find out that Delft is also famous for small white tiles decorated in blue paint.’
      • ‘Feeling bored for a day is not very serious, but feeling bored for weeks or months is dangerous.’
  • very well

    • Used to express agreement or consent.

      ‘oh very well then, come in’


Middle English (as an adjective in the sense ‘real, genuine’): from Old French verai, based on Latin verus ‘true’.