Definition of actual adjective from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//ˈæktʃuəl//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈæktʃuəl//
    [only before noun]
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  1. 1  used to emphasize something that is real or exists in fact What were his actual words? The actual cost was higher than we expected. James looks younger than his wife but in actual fact (= really) he is five years older. Which Word?actual / current / present Actual does not mean current or present. It means ‘real’ or ‘exact’, and is often used in contrast with something that is not seen as real or exact:I need the actual figures, not an estimate. Present means ‘existing or happening now’:How long have you been in your present job? Current also means ‘existing or happening now’, but can suggest that the situation is temporary:The factory cannot continue its current level of production. Actually does not mean ‘at the present time’. Use currently, at present or at the moment instead. note at presently
  2. 2  used to emphasize the most important part of something The wedding preparations take weeks but the actual ceremony takes less than an hour.
  3. Word OriginMiddle English: from Old French actuel ‘active, practical’, from late Latin actualis, from actus ‘event, thing done’, act- ‘done’, from the verb agere, reinforced by the French noun acte.Extra examples The actual cost was much higher than we had expected.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: actual

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