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"Very" used in the negative[edit]

I think the following is not covered in the definitions given:

"I am not very tall" does not mean "I am not excessively tall" -- rather it means "I am relatively short". Duoduoduo 17:41, 13 October 2011 (UTC)

I think that's just adverb sense 1 combined with litotes. 19:25, 2 January 2012 (UTC)

"Very" used as an adjective[edit]

I have never heard very used as an adjective except in the phrase "very best", in which it means "as best as possible", not as "true, real, actual". Is this a dialectical usage of very, or a potential obsolete usage?

"Very best" is the adverb, I think: "verily (truly) the best". Equinox 17:28, 10 October 2014 (UTC)
Yet “very best” is used as an example for “very” as an adjective (sense 1). Can “very” in “very best” sometimes be an adjective, or is the example in the wrong category? --Anareth (talk) 11:39, 19 May 2016 (UTC)
It's basically obsolete. Consider the Christmas carol Good King Wenceslas: "In his master's steps he trod / Where the snow lay dinted. / Heat was in the very sod / Which the Saint had printed." Equinox 11:57, 19 May 2016 (UTC)
I think our example is okay because he tried his "very best" (Adj + Noun): his real, true best. However, in "his very best attempt", it would be an adverb. Equinox 11:58, 19 May 2016 (UTC)