Dictionaries change: This is literally the end of the English language

'Literally' literally means what now?
'Literally' literally means what now?


    'Literally' literally means what now?


'Literally' literally means what now? 00:46

Story highlights

  • Dictionaries now include a definition of literally that isn't literal
  • Literally can be used to express a strong feeling, dictionaries say
  • Merriam-Webster, Cambridge and Google agree
  • Dictionary.com notes the exception
This is going to give grammarians a headache, literalists a migraine and language nerds a nervous breakdown.
The definition of literally is no longer the literal definition of literally.
Alas, poor literally . . .
Gizmodo has discovered Google's definition for literally includes this: "Used to acknowledge that something is not literally true but is used for emphasis or to express strong feeling."
But it doesn't end with Google.
Merriam-Wesbter and Cambridge dictionaries have also added the informal, non-literal definition.
So what's the deal?
Next thing they'll be telling us that there's no ham in hamburger, no egg in eggplant, a boxing ring isn't round and tennis shoes aren't just for tennis.
We're literally over it.
Hooray for Dictionary.com, which has bucked the trend but includes the info in an editor's note below the definition.
"The use is often criticized; nevertheless, it appears in all but the most carefully edited writing."
(Reader: insert your own joke here)