Definition of very in English:



  • 1Used for emphasis.

    • ‘José was wearing very distinctive clothing and would have stood out in a crowd.’
    • ‘This is a very unusual and unusually complex method of storytelling and The West Wing makes it its own.’
    • ‘Was it really credible that such a significant proportion of a very small community were dealers?’
    • ‘The port is still at the heart of Hamburg, and this is very unusual for a modern city.’
    • ‘This represents excellent value for money for a very unusual piece of football memorabilia.’
    • ‘Those of us who stayed at home to mind the Yew trees last weekend endured a very unusual few days.’
    • ‘Sofia looks very dirty from the bicycle and at the same time is so interesting, he says.’
    • ‘Trees are so important for all the reasons outlined but they are very significant in two other ways as well.’
    • ‘The two Bobby Vans are very distinctive and have the name painted on the sides.’
    • ‘Yorkshire and especially Bradford must be very proud of this wonderful caring celebrity.’
    • ‘The truly posh very rarely have much to do with this, so it tends to be the upper middle class vs the utter plebs.’
    • ‘I didn't see the accident but it is very unusual for a horse like Lorenzo to have just taken off like that.’
    • ‘It was a dark, deep chocolate truffle with a very distinct bite of fresh black pepper.’
    • ‘These had already suffered very significant setbacks and rode out last week's storms.’
    • ‘We are talking here about very significant numbers of houses, probably more than we can cope with.’
    • ‘The Colombians were having a bad time of it, and so began to play a very dirty game indeed.’
    • ‘James, especially, took it very badly when he told them how useless they were.’
    • ‘Claire was only 31 at the time and it's a very unusual illness in someone so young.’
    • ‘Booking tours is a very difficult endeavour, especially without a label backing you.’
    • ‘Both women made significant but very different humanitarian contributions to the war.’
    extremely, exceedingly, exceptionally, especially, tremendously, immensely, vastly, hugely
    extraordinarily, extra, excessively, overly, over, abundantly, inordinately, singularly, significantly, distinctly, outstandingly, uncommonly, unusually, decidedly, particularly, eminently, supremely, highly, remarkably, really, truly, mightily, thoroughly
    all that, to a great extent, most, so, too
    terrifically, awfully, terribly, devilishly, madly, majorly, seriously, desperately, mega, ultra, oh-so, too-too, stinking, mucho, damn, damned, too … for words
    devilish, hellish, frightfully
    ever so, well, bloody, dead, dirty, jolly, fair
    real, mighty, powerful, awful, plumb, darned, way, bitching, mad
    exceeding, sore
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1In a high degree.
      ‘very large’
      ‘very quickly’
      ‘very much so’
      • ‘Attacks on anyone who opposes these organisations quickly become very personal.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Twelve months is a long time and has seen two very significant developments.’
      • ‘It was very tense, especially when we went a goal behind in the first half.’
      • ‘The cars come down this road very quickly and we have seen quite a few accidents.’
      • ‘She sensed someone moving very quickly after her before she was hit from behind and had her bag snatched.’
      • ‘This is something that you learn quite quickly and is very easy to exploit if you want free technical support.’
      • ‘Despite a good lap on wet tyres it dried very quickly and he was pushed down to eighth position.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘But my memory of disagreements is balanced by how very quickly they always made it up.’
      • ‘A new form of ultrasound scan can show foetuses at very early degrees of development.’
      • ‘Lettuce, be it red or green, smooth or crinkly, germinates very quickly and is soon ready to eat.’
      • ‘We reorganised and realigned very quickly and eventually there was nowhere for England to go.’
      • ‘People seem to take the idea of Kevin Bacon, and his Six degrees, very seriously.’
      • ‘He did very poorly in his degree and had to settle for only a pass degree.’
      • ‘However, it is plain that the Statute requires a very high degree of specificity.’
      • ‘It was a bit strange really, and very frustrating especially as we had a chance to get something from the game.’
      • ‘The crystalline state is one in which there is a very high degree of internal order.’
      • ‘Life is very busy and extra commotion in the background annoys me more than anything.’
    2. 1.2Used 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
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Emphasizing an extreme point in time or space.
      ‘from the very beginning of the book’
      ‘at the very back of the skull’
    2. 1.2With no addition of or contribution from anything else; mere.
      ‘the very thought of drink made him feel sick’
    3. 1.3archaic Real; genuine.
      ‘the very God of Heaven’


  • not very

    • 1In a low degree.

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

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

    • An exclamation of disapproval or disagreement.

      • ‘She was subtly moving the debate on, from jokey repartee (the very idea!) to smiling yet intransigent persistence.’
      • ‘The very idea! What an outrage!’
  • the very same

    • The same (used for emphasis, often to express surprise)

      ‘the very same thrillers that flop in theaters become video hits’
      • ‘No surprise Amanda said the very same thing when that question was posed to her.’
      • ‘She had been happy to find out when she met Barnes that he loved the very same deli.’
      • ‘What follows is the very same guide Patrick Duffy used to become the man he is today.’
      • ‘Ironically, however, I find myself writing this in the very same joggers I bought for that class.’
      • ‘Isn't that the very same design that has been a proud symbol of Scottishness for almost 1,200 years?’
      • ‘Those who act must later endure the very same fate that they once dealt out unto others.’
      • ‘They planned to stay at the very same hotel where they spent their honeymoon 20 years ago.’
      • ‘Just then my sister came through the very same door and the spotlight was once again off me.’
      • ‘His young wife Annie received a letter to say he was returning home, and notification of his death, in the very same post.’
      • ‘She knew what he wanted the very same thing that she did but she also knew what he needed instead.’
  • very well

    • see very
      • ‘Very well then, I shall be in touch with you later today or tomorrow, with a revised offer.’
      • ‘Ok, very well! when can I expect to hear back from you?’
    • 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.