1. According to the letter or verbal expression; real; not figurative or metaphorical; as, the literal meaning of a phrase.
It hath but one simple literal sense whose light the owls can not abide. --Tyndale.
2. Following the letter or exact words; not free.
A middle course between the rigor of literal translations and the liberty of paraphrasts. --Hooker.
3. Consisting of, or expressed by, letters.
The literal notation of numbers was known to Europeans before the ciphers. --Johnson.
4. Giving a strict or literal construction; unimaginative; matter-of-fact; -- applied to persons.
Literal contract Law, a contract of which the whole evidence is given in writing. --Bouvier.
Literal equation Math., an equation in which known quantities are expressed either wholly or in part by means of letters; -- distinguished from a numerical equation.