a. Existing in reality and not potential, possible, simulated, or false: The actual damages were less than first reported. In the actual test, the mechanism did not work as the computer model predicted. See Synonyms at real1.
b. Based on fact: The actual history of the voyage is different from the popular accounts.
2. Conforming to the characteristics of a group or type; typical: Is he an actual doctor or a fake?
[Middle English, from Old French, active, from Late Latin āctuālis, from Latin āctus, past participle of agere, to drive, do; see ag- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.