Did you know?

Click any word in a definition or example to find the entry for that word

actual - definition and synonyms


What are red words?

90% of the time, speakers of English use just 7,500 words in speech and writing. These words appear in red, and are graded with stars. One-star words are frequent, two-star words are more frequent, and three-star words are the most frequent.



The thesaurus of synonyms and related words is fully integrated into the dictionary. Click on the thesaurus category heading under the button in an entry to see the synonyms and related words for that meaning.

adjective actual pronunciation in British English /ˈæktʃuəl/
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  1. 1
    [only before noun] used for emphasizing what is really true or exact compared with a general idea
    The actual number of people killed is not yet known.
    We don’t know her actual date of birth.
    1. a.
      used for emphasizing what is really true or exact compared with what people expected
      How does your department’s actual performance compare with your plan and budget?
      The actual situation was quite different.
  2. 2
    used for emphasizing that something is real and not imaginary or part of an idea or plan
    The play is based on actual events.
    Do you have any actual experience of catering work?
  3. 3
    [only before noun] used for emphasizing the word that follows
    All I have to do now is write the actual letter.


a meal served in the evening which consists of foods traditionally eaten at breakfast

BuzzWord Article

Open Dictionary

troll factory

a company that pays its employees to write online comments in favour or against somebody or something posing as ordinary Internet users

add a word


A must for anyone with an interest in the changing face of language. The Macmillan Dictionary blog explores English as it is spoken around the world today.

global English and language change from our blog