The word “literally” has always meant “in a literal manner or sense” or “exactly” or “without exaggeration.”
But in recent years, people have literally started to use it figuratively. For example, you’re likely to hear someone say something like, “I just spilled pizza sauce on my shirt and I’ve literally never been so upset.” Obviously, that’s not true.
Wednesday, Google added the figurative usage of “literally” (sarcastic air quotes not included) to their definition. Dictionaries have also started to add the second definition in recent years.
Notably, James Joyce used it in its figurative sense in his 1914 short story “The Dead.”
Grammar enthusiasts everywhere are literally losing their minds.