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From: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)

 Lit·er·al a.
 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.