Learner's definition of LITERAL
1 : involving the ordinary or usual meaning of a word
I was using the word in its literal sense.
The literal meaning of “know your ropes” is “to know a lot about ropes,” while figuratively it means “to know a lot about how to do something.”
2 : giving the meaning of each individual word : exact 3 : completely true and accurate : not exaggerated 4 [more literal; most literal] — used to describe someone who understands words and statements only in the most basic and ordinary way and does not have much imagination