Literally figurative

October 1, 2013

It’s official – literally doesn’t mean literally any more it means figuratively:

. . . the editors of the Oxford English Dictionary have changed the definition of “literally” – so it can now be used in a similar way to “metaphorically.”

Senior OED editor Fiona MacPherson told BBC Radio 5 live’s Breakfast: “If enough people use a word in a particular way… it will find its way into the dictionary.”

It means that literally as it ought to be used is literally dead.

Quite why the concept of literally has been lost defies me but I guess this is linguistic democracy at work.

The power of the people prevails even when the people are literally wrong.


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