from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adv. In a figurative manner.
  • adv. Used to indicate that what follows is to be taken as a figure of speech, not literally.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • In a figurative manner; by means of a figure or resemblance; metaphorically or tropically.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adv. in a figurative sense


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

figurative +‎ -ly



Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • A fair point! Being used to mean the opposite of what it actually means is just half of the issue with literally. The other half being that it is being used for emphasis. So, yeah, I could support the eschewing of adverbs altogether in many instances of hyperbole.

    May 23, 2007

  • The problem with this word is its connotation of not being serious. When somebody looks you in the eye and says "my jaw literally hit the floor," he wants you to realize the gravity of the situation, the degree to which he was surprised. "My jaw figuratively hit the floor" may be true but sounds much lighter, like you're afraid of hyperbole or something.

    I prefer no adverb at all in this case: "my jaw hit the floor." If you're exaggerating, that much will be clear on its own merits.

    May 23, 2007

  • A word that is shunned with ever-increasing frequency as people insist on using its antonym "literally" as a synonym for it. Let's bring figuratively back, people.

    May 23, 2007