This shows grade level based on the words complexity.

This shows grade level based on the words complexity.


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) ver·i·er, ver·i·est.

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.



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Origin of very

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

grammar notes for very

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.


much, very (see usage note at the current entry) Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

How to use very in a sentence

  • “I think the types of stories we do are very similar to what happened with hip-hop,” says Jones.

  • Our animators are very excited to be drawing the innards of a human being.

  • Not actual CIA agents, but U.S. government personnel who have worked very closely with the CIA, and who are fans of the show.

  • Satirists are reliant ultimately on the very establishment they mock.

  • It was a very faithful homage to a Six Million Dollar Man episode.

  • Suddenly, however, he became aware of a small black spot far ahead in the very middle of the unencumbered track.

  • There seems something in that also which I could spare only very reluctantly from a new Bible in the world.

  • Among the Perpendicular additions to the church last named may be noted a very beautiful oaken rood-screen.

  • They ranged from moving trunks to cleaning cisterns, and, by grace of all of them, Sim was doing very well.

  • On the upper part of the stem the whorls are very close together, but they are more widely separated at the lower portion.

British Dictionary definitions for very


(intensifier) used to add emphasis to adjectives that are able to be gradedvery good; very tall

adjective (prenominal)

(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 nounsthe 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 describedhe was a very lion in the fight


  1. real or true; genuinethe very living God
  2. lawfulthe very vengeance of the gods

Word Origin for very

C13: from Old French verai true, from Latin vērax true, from vērus true

usage for very

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 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Other Idioms and Phrases with very

In addition to the idioms beginning with very

  • very thing, the
  • very well

also see:

  • all very well
  • whats the (the very) idea

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.

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