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WordReference Random House Learner's Dictionary of American English © 2015
ver•y /ˈvɛri/USA pronunciation
adv., adj., -i•er, -i•est.
in a high degree;
exceedingly:a very clever person.
This word is sometimes used to show the speaker's intense feeling, or to emphasize or stress something, esp. something superlative or to stress identity or oppositeness:the very best thing; in the very same place.
adj. [before a noun]
particular:That is the very item we want.
mere:The very thought of killing little puppies is distressing to her.
sheer; utter:the very joy of living.
actual:He was caught in the very act of stealing.
being such in the true or fullest sense of the term:This is the very heart of the matter.See -ver-.
Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers::
very /ˈvɛrɪ/ adv
- (intensifier) used to add emphasis to adjectives that are able to be graded: very good, very tall
Etymology: 13th Century: from Old French verai true, from Latin vērax true, from vērus trueUSAGE
- (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
- (intensifier) used in metaphors to emphasize the applicability of the image to the situation described: he was a very lion in the fight
- archaic real or true; genuine: the very living God
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
'very much' also found in these entries: