- 1used 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.
- 2used to emphasize the most important part of something The wedding preparations take weeks but the actual ceremony takes less than an hour.
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NAmE//ˈæktʃuəl//, NAmE//ˈækʃuəl//[only before noun]