Middle English actual, actuel (“active”), from Old French actuel, actual, from Late Latin actualis (“active, practical”), from Latin actus (“act, action, performance”), from agere (“to do; to act”) + -alis (“-al”).
- (US) IPA(key): /ˈæk.(t)ʃ(ʊ).əl/
- (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /ˈæktʃju.əl/, /ˈæktʃʊ.əl/
Audio (US) (file)
actual (not comparable)
- Existing in act or reality, not just potentially; really acted or acting; occurring in fact.
the actual cost of goods; the actual case under discussion
- Factual, real, not just apparent or even false.
1963, Margery Allingham, chapter 1, in The China Governess:
- The original family who had begun to build a palace to rival Nonesuch had died out before they had put up little more than the gateway, so that the actual structure which had come down to posterity retained the secret magic of a promise rather than the overpowering splendour of a great architectural achievement.
The actual government expenses dramatically exceed the budget.
- (dated) In action at the time being; now existing; current.
The actual situation of the world economy is worse than anyone expected a year ago
- (obsolete) Active, not passive.
- her walking and other actual performances.
- Jeremy Taylor
- Let your holy and pious intention be actual; that is […] by a special prayer or action, […] given to God.
- Used to emphasise a noun or verb, whether something is real or metaphorical.
2013 August 3, “The machine of a new soul”, in The Economist, volume 408, number 8847:
- The yawning gap in neuroscientists’ understanding of their topic is in the intermediate scale of the brain’s anatomy. Science has a passable knowledge of how individual nerve cells, known as neurons, work. It also knows which visible lobes and ganglia of the brain do what. But how the neurons are organised in these lobes and ganglia remains obscure. Yet this is the level of organisation that does the actual thinking—and is, presumably, the seat of consciousness.
- In most Romance and Germanic languages the cognate of actual means “current”. This meaning also occurs in English written by non-native speakers, but is nonstandard English.
- The phrase in actual fact is criticised by many as redundant.
- (existing in act or reality): potential, possible, virtual, speculative, conceivable, theoretical, nominal, hypothetical, estimated
- (in action at the time being): future, past
- The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.
actual (plural actuals)
- An actual, real one; notably:
- (finance) Something actually received; real receipts, as distinct from estimated ones.
- (military) A radio callsign modifier that specifies the commanding officer of the unit or asset denoted by the remainder of the callsign and not the officer's assistant or other designee.
- Bravo Six Actual, this is Charlie One. Come in, over. (The radio operator is requesting to speak to the commander of the unit under the call sign "Bravo Six.")
- actual in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913
- actual in The Century Dictionary, The Century Co., New York, 1911
actual (masculine and feminine plural actuals)
actual m, f (plural actuais)
- Eagle, Andy, ed. (2016) The Online Scots Dictionary, Scots Online.
actual (plural actuales)
- Actual is a false friend, and does not mean the same as the English word actual. Spanish equivalents are shown above, in the "Translations" section of the English entry actual.