Literally Now Literally Means Figuratively

Search Google for the definition of the word literally. Literally now means its own antonym.

I know that languages evolve over time. But can we reclaim the first definition of this adverb as the only legitimate one?

Link -via Popehat


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Actually it's not nearly as funny as you think. One of the definitions of "literally" has been "virtually" in a metaphoric, hyperbole, etc., context. This use was used by writers like Dryden and Pope, to indicate "what follows must be taken in the strongest admissible sense" in the 1600s. Yes, this is opposite to the word's original meaning coming from the 1500s, but considering it's been in use in this fashion from BEFORE the 20th century it isn't so far a stretch as to accept it as a proper use.
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This is no different than the french "terrible" which now means "awesome". Plus, you are all 50 years too late for this debate. The American language unofficially changed from prescriptive to descriptive in 1961 with the publication of Merriam-Webster's 2nd International Dictionary.
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Amen to that! It literally means to remove one in ten: i.e. cut by 10%. But literally no longer means what it should so we can all use any word in any way we want. It's all bollocks. Or do I mean confusing?
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