“Literally” Loses Its Meaning

misuse of literally

A groundbreaking study by the University of Lexicography has revealed a startling trend: 87% of people who frequently use the word “literally” have no idea what it actually means.

The research, conducted over two years, involved 10,000 participants from various English-speaking countries. Subjects were asked to use “literally” in a sentence, then define its meaning. The results were, quite frankly, metaphorically mind-blowing.

Lead researcher Dr. Emma Wordsmith commented, “We were figuratively stunned. Participants would say things like ‘I’m literally dying of embarrassment’ while remaining very much alive, or ‘My head literally exploded’ with their craniums intact.”

The study found that millennials were the worst offenders, with Generation Z following closely behind. Baby boomers, meanwhile, were more likely to grumble about the misuse than participate in it.

Linguists fear this trend could lead to a semantic apocalypse. “If we continue down this path, we might literally forget how to communicate effectively,” warns Dr. Wordsmith, unaware of her own ironic usage.

In response to the findings, some schools have introduced “Literal Literacy” programs. However, initial results show students are literally struggling to grasp the concept.