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From Middle English verray, verrai (true), from Old French verai (true) (Modern French: vrai), from assumed Vulgar Latin *vērācus, alteration of Latin vērāx (truthful), from Latin vērus (true), from Proto-Indo-European *wēr- (true, benevolent). Cognate with Old English wǣr (true, correct), Dutch waar (true), German wahr (true), Icelandic alvöru (earnest). Displaced native Middle English sore, sār (very) (from Old English sār (grievous, extreme) (Compare German: sehr, Dutch: zeer), Middle English wel (very) (from Old English wel (well, very)), and Middle English swith (quickly; very) (from Old English swīþe (very). More at warlock.



very (not generally comparable, comparative verier, superlative veriest)

  1. True, real, actual.
    The fierce hatred of a very woman.
    The very blood and bone of our grammar.
    He tried his very best.
    • Bible, Genesis xxvii. 21
      whether thou be my very son Esau or not
    • John Milton (1608-1674)
      The very essence of truth is plainness and brightness.
    • Edmund Burke (1729-1797)
      I looked on the consideration of public service or public ornament to be real and very justice.
    • 2012 November 7, Matt Bai, “Winning a Second Term, Obama Will Confront Familiar Headwinds”, New York Times:
      The country’s first black president, and its first president to reach adulthood after the Vietnam War and Watergate, Mr. Obama seemed like a digital-age leader who could at last dislodge the stalemate between those who clung to the government of the Great Society, on the one hand, and those who disdained the very idea of government, on the other.
  2. The same; identical.
    He proposed marriage in the same restaurant, at the very table where they first met.
    That's the very tool that I need.
  3. With limiting effect: mere.
    • 1603, John Florio, trans. Michel de Montaigne, Essays, I.40:
      We have many examples in our daies, yea in very children, of such as for feare of some slight incommoditie have yeelded unto death.



very (not comparable)

  1. To a great extent or degree; extremely; exceedingly.
    • 1918, W. B. Maxwell, chapter 13, The Mirror and the Lamp:
      “[…] They talk of you as if you were Croesus—and I expect the beggars sponge on you unconscionably.” And Vickers launched forth into a tirade very different from his platform utterances. He spoke with extreme contempt of the dense stupidity exhibited on all occasions by the working classes.
    You’re very tall.
  2. True, truly.
    He was the very best runner there.

Usage notes[edit]

  • When used in their senses as degree adverbs, "very" and "too" never modify verbs.



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Middle English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]


Old French verai


very (comparative verier)

  1. true


For usage examples of this term, see the citations page.



  1. very