AskDefine | Define actual

Dictionary Definition

actual adj
1 presently existing in fact and not merely potential or possible; "the predicted temperature and the actual temperature were markedly different"; "actual and imagined conditions" [syn: existent] [ant: potential]
2 taking place in reality; not pretended or imitated; "we saw the actual wedding on television"; "filmed the actual beating"
3 being or reflecting the essential or genuine character of something; "her actual motive"; "a literal solitude like a desert"- G.K.Chesterton; "a genuine dilemma" [syn: genuine, literal, real]
4 of the nature of fact; having actual existence; "rocks and trees...the actual world"; "actual heroism"; "the actual things that produced the emotion you experienced" [syn: factual]
5 existing in fact whether with lawful authority or not; "de facto segregation is as real as segration imposed by law"; "a de facto state of war" [syn: de facto, factual] [ant: de jure]
6 being or existing at the present moment; "the ship's actual position is 22 miles due south of Key West"

User Contributed Dictionary



actuel, actuel, actualis, from agere.


  • a WEAE /ˈæk.tʃu.l̩/


  1. Existing in act or reality; really acted or acting; in fact; real
    the actual cost of goods
    the actual case under discussion
  2. In action at the time being; now exiting; present.
    the actual situation of the country
  3. Used to emphasise a noun or verb, whether something is real or metaphorical.

Usage notes

  • In some foreign languages actual means “modern”. This meaning sometimes occurs in English written by foreigners, but is nonstandard English.


existing in act or reality
in action at the time being
emphasise a noun
  • German: tatsächlich


  1. Something actually received; real receipts, as distinct from estimated ones.



  1. present, current
  2. factual



  1. present, current
  2. factual
  3. actual, real

Usage notes

  • actual is a false friend, and does not mean the same as English word actual. Spanish equivalents are shown above, in the “Translations” section of the English entry lang=en.

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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