Biden: I Have Met “Literally Every” World Leader

220px-Nouveau_Dictionnaire_Larousse_page225px-joe_biden_official_photo_portrait_2-croppedFor many, the use of the word “literally” is literally the bane of their existence. People often use it for emphasis when the literal meaning of the sentence could not possibly be true. Take statement of Vice President Joe Biden who loves to use the word and, on Monday, told a crowd that he has met “literally every” world leader at my school, George Washington University. It was funny enough that Carrie Dann of NBC News had to tweet it.

Notably, while most dictionaries have literally held the line on the definition, Google has added a meaning that is more Bidenesque:

in a literal manner or sense; exactly.
. . .
used for emphasis while not being literally true.
“I have received literally thousands of letters”

Thus, we can assume Biden is using the Google meaning and has not literally (formal) met every world world but it literally (informal) feels that way.

Source: The Week

44 thoughts on “Biden: I Have Met “Literally Every” World Leader

  1. I still like me some Joe in the morning….

    Biden is at least a competent VP, unlike the possibility of having Palin serving in that capacity—which is literally terrifying.

  2. Compared with many politicians, Biden is literally one of the better ones and far less prone to gaffes than our last Ted Baxter Bush. I think Ted Baxter Bush should have been a newscaster on Faux since he cannot even read a teleprompter and is fully qualified for that position. It would have elevated their newscasts to higher, greater comedy than they are now.

  3. I know that the MSM is covering for Biden, but he is a walking faux pas. He is probably the only reason that Obama has not either been impeached or assassinated. Nobody wants him in office.

  4. Annie – you exaggerate. She said she would only waterboard terrorists. Are you saying Biden is a terrorist?

  5. Bruce you are worse than Biden, literally since he is not second in command in the Democratic party. Obama is also NOT the head of the party either. We do not have the Soviet style government where the chairman of the CPSU is viewed as the head of government. You may wish for that kind of thing, but so far we don’t have it yet.

  6. Picky, Pickee, pic’yee

    Grammar policing, in this day of RUOK short speaks;
    ranks right along, side by side, with mattress tag police.
    (Unless you belong to the Legal “Prose” network)

    I’m just sayin………….

  7. This use of the word ‘literally’ has been used since the 18th century. Well respected authors such as Mark Twain have used this definition of the word.

    Language changes. The word ’emphasis’ [taken randomly out of the story above] has changed meaning since it first use.

    In the end, if Charles Dickens, Mark Twain, and many others are using the word ‘literally’ as a form of emphasis instead of it more common meaning, Biden is in good company.

    He has made far more outrageous statements and ones that less easily defensible.,28804,1895156_1894977_1644536,00.html

  8. To be more precise, the head of the CPSU was called the General Secretary, not Chairman. For those who cannot understand the difference between the head of party and head of state or government in this regards, I will point out that Lenin was never General Secretary of the CPSU. That was a person by the name of Stalin who Lenin requested be removed from that post in his last letter to the party when he knew he was dying. We all know how that one worked out.

  9. Laser – this is the sort of thing that quite literally drives people made. The City of Oxford, England decided to take apostrophes out of street signs and people have been running around the city with black pens putting them back in.

  10. The character played by Rob Lowe in Parks and Rec is a great spoof on the people who use “literally” obsessively. He literally uses literally in every sentence. Hilarious show. Ironically, the lead character played by Amy Poehler is literally obsessed w/ Uncle Joe. He even made a cameo appearance. Hopefully that’s his next career come 2016.

  11. randyjet

    i think you’re missunderestimating dubya. he made sure all those o b docs practice their love with their patients.

    when he wasn’t looking into putin’s soul.

  12. Dredd,

    Just saw I got an email. Will check it later. I hope all is going well. Keep up and onward through the fog.

  13. I agree with Wayne and J. Holmes. And add Biden is a great guy who has your Regular Joe American interest at heart.

  14. “I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that’s a storybook, man.” –Joe Biden, referring to Barack Obama at the beginning of the 2008 Democratic primary campaign, Jan. 31, 2007

    The All-American Joe Biden.

  15. Keebler: I read it. Given the situation, it seems to be the reasonable step to take. The roads are not getting better, are key to our economy, and cost more money than taxpayers have agreed to pay. Do you have a better idea? And the word is “disdain”.

  16. I love it when Biden fulsomely praises something Obama has just done as being “literally incredible!!”

    Yes, Obama the liar has been literally incredible since mid-November 2008: Transparency, accountability for war criminals, Wall Streeters and mortgage fraudsters, robust public option, save Social Security and Medicare, deficit-fetishism, and all that. Remember the “Fierce urgency of now!”??

    Yup, Joe: You’re right. Thanks for the reminders.

  17. Lrobby99

    Both tolls and increasing the gas taxes are regressive . I’d ask that fed inc. tax be increased. That tax is progressive and the tax rates are pretty darn low. (Lowest ever?)

  18. Literally, the occupant of the Oval Office is the “first African-American President.”

    Let’s parse that one out. His mother was European. His father was a foreign citizen. The person in the White House is half African-American and half eligible for the office. If you’re half right, you’re half wrong. If you’re half wrong, you’re all wrong.


  19. OK, this is the funniest thread I’ve read in a while. :)

    Oh, Joe . . . he suffers from chronic foot-in-mouthitis. Remember when he kept asking the guy (Chuck Graham) in the wheelchair to stand up?

  20. Paul – I forgot about that one. “The first mainstream African-American who is articulate.” Ohhhhhhh, I can’t stand it. I literally cringe every time I read that quote . . . literally.

  21. I never understood the reactions to that usage of that word. Hyperboles are common, and there is no reason the word “literally” can only be used literally.

  22. For those who think the tax rates should be raised, let me remind them that they are free to donate to the Treasury Dept at any time. The Treasury does take donations both big and small.

  23. I figuratively have met everyone who says they literally would never use hyperbole in a million years.

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