Meaning of LITERAL in English

LITERAL

/ ˈlɪtərəl; NAmE / adjective

1.

[ usually before noun ] being the basic or usual meaning of a word or phrase :

I am not referring to 'small' people in the literal sense of the word.

The literal meaning of 'petrify' is 'turn to stone'.

—compare figurative , metaphorical

2.

[ usually before noun ] that follows the original words exactly :

a literal translation

—compare free

3.

( disapproving ) lacking imagination :

Her interpretation of the music was too literal.

►  lit·er·al·ness noun [ U ]

••

WORD ORIGIN

late Middle English : from Old French , or from late Latin litteralis , from Latin littera letter of the alphabet, (plural) epistle, literature, culture.

Oxford Advanced Learner's English Dictionary.      Оксфордский английский словарь для изучающик язык на продвинутом уровне.