From Middle English actualy, actuelly, equivalent to actual + -ly.
- (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /ˈak.t͡ʃ(ʊ.)(ə.)li/
- (General American) IPA(key): /ˈæk.t͡ʃ(u.)(ə.)li/
Audio (US) (file)
- Rhymes: -ækt͡ʃʊəli
actually (not comparable)
- (modal) In act or in fact; really; in truth; positively.
- His promises did not correspond with what he actually did.
- (obsolete) Actively.
- 1655, Thomas Fuller, James Nichols, editor, The Church History of Britain, […], volume (please specify |volume=I to III), new edition, London: […] [James Nichols] for Thomas Tegg and Son, […], published 1837, →OCLC:
- Neither actually […] nor passively.
- (obsolete) Currently; at the time.
- 1847 January – 1848 July, William Makepeace Thackeray, Vanity Fair […], London: Bradbury and Evans […], published 1848, →OCLC:
- At the time whereof we are writing, though the Great George was on the throne and ladies wore gigots and large combs like tortoise-shell shovels in their hair, instead of the simple sleeves and lovely wreaths which are actually in fashion, the manners of the very polite world were not, I take it, essentially different from those of the present day: and their amusements pretty similar.
- In other European languages, cognates of actually mean "now" or "currently"; (e.g., Portuguese "atualmente", Spanish "actualmente", French "actuellement", German "aktuell", Italian "attualmente", Czech "aktuálně"), making it a false friend. This leads many non-native speakers of English to use "actually" when they mean "now" or "currently".
- Some commentators have:
- In practice, actually and its synonyms are often used to insinuate that the following is either unusual or contrary to a norm or preceding assumption, or to merely preface an overconfident opinion contrasting a previous statement or norm (as per 'vacuous emphasis' note above).
- This is actually a really beautiful song. (contrasting opinion)
- Actually, I'm not from France – I'm from Switzerland. (contrary from assumption)
- At the check-out, the cashier actually greeted me for once. (contrary from norm)
- (in act or in fact): as a matter of fact, in reality, literally, really, truthfully; see also Thesaurus:actually
In act or in fact; really; in truth; positively
- ^ Christopher Howse; Richard Preston (2007) She Literally Exploded: The Daily Telegraph Infuriating Phrasebook, London: Constable and Robinson, →ISBN, page 3.
- ^ ibidem, page 4
- Alternative form of actualy
- Eagle, Andy, ed. (2016) The Online Scots Dictionary, Scots Online.