actually (adv.)

early 15c., "in fact, in reality" (as opposed to "in possibility"), from actual + -ly (2). Meaning "actively, vigorously" is from mid-15c.; that of "at this time, at present" is from 1660s. As an intensive added to a statement and suggesting "as a matter of fact, really, in truth" it is attested from 1762, often used as an expression of mild wonder or surprise.

updated on October 14, 2021

Definitions of actually from WordNet

actually (adv.)
in actual fact;
to be nominally but not actually independent
large meteorites actually come from the asteroid belt
no one actually saw the shark
Synonyms: really
actually (adv.)
used to imply that one would expect the fact to be the opposite of that stated; surprisingly;
you may actually be doing the right thing by walking out
she actually spoke Latin
Synonyms: in reality
actually (adv.)
at the present moment;
the transmission screen shows the picture that is actually on the air
actually (adv.)
as a sentence modifier to add slight emphasis;
actually, I haven't seen the film
she hasn't proved to be too satisfactory, actually
actually, we all help clear up after a meal
I'm not all that surprised actually
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