Is “actually” the new “like”?
The innocuous little adverb was originally used to mean “in fact” — “That tree is actually a fir, not a pine.” Or to express surprise or incredulity — “I actually won the lottery!” (Both examples from American Heritage Dictionary.)
It has come to mean just about everything. Or nothing.
“A prime example of a contagious trend of overused verbiage,” says Urban Dictionary, which offers the following anecdote, by way of example.
Mom: “Ashley, what color would you like to paint that mug for Grandma?”
Ashley: “Actually, I think pink would be nice. Actually, no, maybe blue would be better.”