Definition of very in English:



  • 1Used for emphasis.

    • ‘The truly posh very rarely have much to do with this, so it tends to be the upper middle class vs the utter plebs.’
    • ‘The two Bobby Vans are very distinctive and have the name painted on the sides.’
    • ‘It was a dark, deep chocolate truffle with a very distinct bite of fresh black pepper.’
    • ‘Booking tours is a very difficult endeavour, especially without a label backing you.’
    • ‘We are talking here about very significant numbers of houses, probably more than we can cope with.’
    • ‘James, especially, took it very badly when he told them how useless they were.’
    • ‘Both women made significant but very different humanitarian contributions to the war.’
    • ‘This represents excellent value for money for a very unusual piece of football memorabilia.’
    • ‘The Colombians were having a bad time of it, and so began to play a very dirty game indeed.’
    • ‘Was it really credible that such a significant proportion of a very small community were dealers?’
    • ‘Sofia looks very dirty from the bicycle and at the same time is so interesting, he says.’
    • ‘These had already suffered very significant setbacks and rode out last week's storms.’
    • ‘José was wearing very distinctive clothing and would have stood out in a crowd.’
    • ‘The port is still at the heart of Hamburg, and this is very unusual for a modern city.’
    • ‘This is a very unusual and unusually complex method of storytelling and The West Wing makes it its own.’
    • ‘Claire was only 31 at the time and it's a very unusual illness in someone so young.’
    • ‘I didn't see the accident but it is very unusual for a horse like Lorenzo to have just taken off like that.’
    • ‘Yorkshire and especially Bradford must be very proud of this wonderful caring celebrity.’
    • ‘Trees are so important for all the reasons outlined but they are very significant in two other ways as well.’
    • ‘Those of us who stayed at home to mind the Yew trees last weekend endured a very unusual few days.’
    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.
      ‘a very large amount’
      ‘the river rose very quickly’
      ‘very much so’
      • ‘She sensed someone moving very quickly after her before she was hit from behind and had her bag snatched.’
      • ‘People seem to take the idea of Kevin Bacon, and his Six degrees, very seriously.’
      • ‘Many seas are tideless, and the waters of some are saline only in a very slight degree.’
      • ‘He did very poorly in his degree and had to settle for only a pass degree.’
      • ‘The cars come down this road very quickly and we have seen quite a few accidents.’
      • ‘The crystalline state is one in which there is a very high degree of internal order.’
      • ‘It was a bit strange really, and very frustrating especially as we had a chance to get something from the game.’
      • ‘Brittany, like other regions of France, has a very rich and distinct history which is all its own.’
      • ‘There has been a very high degree of co-operation between everyone involved in this case.’
      • ‘Life is very busy and extra commotion in the background annoys me more than anything.’
      • ‘This is something that you learn quite quickly and is very easy to exploit if you want free technical support.’
      • ‘Attacks on anyone who opposes these organisations quickly become very personal.’
      • ‘But my memory of disagreements is balanced by how very quickly they always made it up.’
      • ‘However, it is plain that the Statute requires a very high degree of specificity.’
      • ‘Despite a good lap on wet tyres it dried very quickly and he was pushed down to eighth position.’
      • ‘We reorganised and realigned very quickly and eventually there was nowhere for England to go.’
      • ‘The numbers became very large very quickly but I would keep going quite a while.’
      • ‘Twelve months is a long time and has seen two very significant developments.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘It was very tense, especially when we went a goal behind in the first half.’
    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 someone or something)

    ‘those were his very words’
    ‘he might be phoning her at this very moment’
    • ‘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. 1.1archaic Real; genuine.
      ‘the very God of Heaven’
  • 2Emphasizing 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
    View synonyms
  • 3With no addition of anything else; mere.

    ‘the very thought of drink made him feel sick’
    mere, simple, pure, pure and simple, plain, basic
    View synonyms


  • not very

    • 1In a low degree.

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

      ‘I'm not very impressed’
      • ‘My friend was not very impressed and it was obvious that he did not want to know anything about Islam.’
      • ‘Rough weather and running out of diesel are not very plausible reasons.’
      • ‘The second boy was not very tall but well built with spiky fair hair.’
      • ‘Unfortunately, there's a lot of it lying around in not very secure places.’
      • ‘Behind us stood a few of those from the most extremist of the settlers, not very satisfied that we had arrived to Hebron.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Sadly for Rogers, he missed the not very difficult conversion, and those were the crucial two points.’
      • ‘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.’
  • the very idea!

    • informal 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

  • very well

    • Used to express agreement or consent.

      ‘oh very well then, come in’
      ‘very well, you may join me’
      ‘very good, sir, will that be all?’
    • 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?’


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