Literally is Literally the Most Overused Word

Literally, according to Merriam Webster, the word "literally" literally means: Main Entry: lit·er·al·ly Pronunciation: ?li-t?-r?-l?, ?li-tr?-l?, ?li-t?r-l? Function: adverb Date: 1533 1 : in a literal sense or manner : actually <took the remark literally> <was literally insane> 2 : in effect : virtually <will literally turn the world upside down to combat cruelty or injustice — Norman Cousins> Usage: Since some people take sense 2 to be the opposite of sense 1, it has been frequently criticized as a misuse. Instead, the use is pure hyperbole intended to gain emphasis, but it often appears in contexts where no additional emphasis is necessary. People use the word "literally" when they literally mean it actually, really, literally happened. And it has become literally accepted to literally use the word "literally" as emphasis.  Unfortunately, the overuse of the word "literally" has literally moved the word "literally" into literal oblivion leaving it literally bereft of all meaning. So the word "literally" can sometimes literally mean literally the opposite of what the word "literally" literally means, however, it can be literally overused to the point where the word "literally" literally means nothing much whatever...literally. Words mean things, don’t they?  Stay tuned for next week’s edition of Word Wednesday featuring another misused word or term.


  • jojosblog

    Literally! lol

  • Carla

    ROFLOL So true! I mean, hey, if you’re not being literal, why are you using literally? :) Seriously, I try to only use it to clarify, as in literally vs. figuratively. Unfortunately, it’s just one big literal can of worms!

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  • jojosblog

    Thanks Glory, Cindy. I’m glad you liked it. I’ll be back next Word Wednesday with another misused word.

  • cindy holman

    Haha!!! I LOVE it!! I’m one of those that uses ‘literally’ a lot too! Literally.

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