'Literally' Adding Definitions In Search Engine And Dictionaries - FOX 29 News Philadelphia | WTXF-TV

'Literally' Adding Definitions In Search Engine And Dictionaries

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A Google search of 'literally' will get you this A Google search of 'literally' will get you this

This week, Google added a second definition to the word "literally." The second definition, commonly used in speech, is regarded as incorrect if used in the classroom.

The standard definition of literally is "in a literal manner or sense, exactly." So if one literally interprets the boss' order to drop everything and go, he or she would throw down everything in his or her hands immediately and get running.

But many English speakers use "literally" in a colloquial way for the sake of emphasis. For example, "I literally just got my butt kicked by my boss." This use of literally means something along the lines of "virtually," or as Google now defines, "to acknowledge that something is not literally true but is used for emphasis or to express strong feeling."

Google is not the only one adding the common usage of "literally" to its definitions. Earlier this year, the Merriam-Webster dictionary added the second definition to the word. And a search of Oxford's English dictionary yields a phrase that says, "an extended use of literally (and also literal) has become very common, where literally (or literal) is used deliberately in nonliteral contexts, for added effect: they bought the car and literally ran it into the ground."

Adding words and definitions to the dictionary is nothing new, in fact dictionaries add new words every year. Verbs like "google" or "frenemy" are all examples of recent additions. According to dictionaries like Merrium-Webster's, the criteria for adding new words/definitions is basically through the usage and context.

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