A Dictionary of the English Language
                        A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson
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Literal (adjective)

View Scan · View Transcription · from page 1212

View Scan · View Transcription · from page 1212

Líteral. adj. [literal, French; litera, Latin.]

  1. According to the primitive meaning, not figurative.

    Through all the writings of the antient fathers, we see that the words, which were, do continue; the only difference is, that whereas before they had a literal, they now have a metaphorical use, and are as so many notes of remembrance unto us, that what they did signify in the letter, is accomplished in the truth. Hooker, b. iv.

    A foundation, being primarily of use in architecture, hath no other literal notation but what belongs to it in relation to an house, or other building, nor figurative, but what is founded in that, and deduced from thence. Hammond.

  2. Following the letter, or exact words.

    The fittest for publick audience are such as, following a middle course between the rigour of literal translations and the liberty of paraphrasts, do with greater shortness and plainness deliver the meaning. Hooker, b. v.

  3. Consisting of letters; as, the literal notion of numbers was known to Europeans before the cyphers.

Sources: Hammond, Henry (47) · Hooker, Richard (175)

Attributes: Adjective (426) · French (385) · Latin (690)

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Cite this page: Johnson, Samuel. "Literal (adjective)." A Dictionary of the English Language: A Digital Edition of the 1755 Classic by Samuel Johnson. Edited by Brandi Besalke. Last modified: November 14, 2013. http://johnsonsdictionaryonline.com/?p=16619.


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