in a high degree; extremely; exceedingly: A giant is very tall.
(used as an intensive emphasizing superlatives or stressing identity or oppositeness): the very best thing; in the very same place as before.
adjective (Obsolete) verier, veriest.
precise; particular: That is the very item we want.
mere: The very thought of it is distressing.
sheer; utter: He wept from the very joy of knowing he was safe.
actual: He was caught in the very act of stealing.
being such in the true or fullest sense of the term; extreme: the very heart of the matter.
true; genuine; worthy of being called such: the very God; a very fool.
rightful or legitimate.

1200–50; Middle English < Anglo-French; Old French verai (French vrai) < Vulgar Latin *vērācus, for Latin vērāx truthful, equivalent to vēr(us) true (cognate with Old English wǣr, German wahr true, correct) + -āx adj. suffix

much, very (see usage note at the current entry).

5. pure, simple, plain.

Past participles that have become established as adjectives can, like most English adjectives, be modified by the adverb very: a very driven person; We were very concerned for your safety. Very does not modify past participles that are clearly verbal; for example, The lid was very sealed is not an idiomatic construction, while The lid was very tightly sealed is. Sometimes confusion arises over whether a given past participle is adjectival and thus able to be modified by very without an intervening adverb. However, there is rarely any objection to the use of this intervening adverb, no matter how the past participle is functioning. Such use often occurs in edited writing: We were very much relieved to find the children asleep. They were very greatly excited by the news. I feel very badly cheated. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To very
World English Dictionary
very (ˈvɛrɪ)
1.  (intensifier) used to add emphasis to adjectives that are able to be graded: very good; very tall
2.  (intensifier) used with nouns preceded by a definite article or possessive determiner, in order to give emphasis to the significance, appropriateness or relevance of a noun in a particular context, or to give exaggerated intensity to certain nouns: the very man I want to see; his very name struck terror; the very back of the room
3.  (intensifier) used in metaphors to emphasize the applicability of the image to the situation described: he was a very lion in the fight
4.  archaic
 a.  real or true; genuine: the very living God
 b.  lawful: the very vengeance of the gods
usage  In strict usage adverbs of degree such as very, too, quite, really, and extremely are used only to qualify adjectives: he is very happy; she is too sad. By this rule, these words should not be used to qualify past participles that follow the verb to be, since they would then be technically qualifying verbs. With the exception of certain participles, such as tired or disappointed, that have come to be regarded as adjectives, all other past participles are qualified by adverbs such as much, greatly, seriously, or excessively: he has been much (not very) inconvenienced; she has been excessively (not too) criticized

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Word Origin & History

mid-13c., verray "true, real, genuine," later "actual, sheer" (late 14c.), from Anglo-Fr. verrai, O.Fr. verai "true," from V.L. *veracus, from L. verax (gen. veracis) "truthful," from verus "true," from PIE *weros- (cf. O.E. wær "a compact," O.Du., O.H.G. war, Du. waar, Ger. wahr "true;" Welsh
gwyr, O.Ir. fir "true;" O.C.S. vera "faith"). Meaning "greatly, extremely" is first recorded mid-15c. Used as a pure intensive since M.E.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases


In addition to the idioms beginning with very, also see all very well; what's the (the very) idea.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
Cite This Source
Example sentences for very
Water reflects light very differently from typical terrestrial materials.
Long optical cavities are very sensitive to the mirror alignment.
This prediction, however was not very useful as it could not predict the exact
Only a single, central tower was permitted, and that was to be very low.
Copyright © 2014, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature