Which Joe gave his name to ‘sloppy joes’? We look at five interesting sandwiches and their lexical origins.
In its standard use literally means ‘in a literal sense, as opposed to a non-literal or exaggerated sense’, for example:
I told him I never wanted to see him again, but I didn’t expect him to take it literally.
In recent years an extended use of literally (and also literal) has become very common, where literally (or literal) is used deliberately in non-literal contexts, for added effect, as in
They bought the car and literally ran it into the ground.
This use can lead to unintentional humorous effects (‘we were literally killing ourselves laughing’) and is not acceptable in formal contexts, though it is widespread.
Read more about the use of literally on the OxfordWords blog.
Back to Usage.
You may also be interested in:
We take a look at several popular, though confusing, punctuation marks.
From Afghanistan to Zimbabwe, discover surprising and intriguing language facts from around the globe.
The definitions of ‘buddy’ and ‘bro’ in the OED have recently been revised. We explore their history and increase in popularity.