From 'Vocabulary' part of The ABC Of Plain Words by Sir E Gowers (1951)

Avoid the foolish use of literally in a sense that really means "not literally but metaphorically", e.g. "He literally brought the house down", "I am literally snowed under with work".

This perennial recently flowered in the correspondence columns of The Times. Among the choicer blossoms were:

(In an account of a tennis match) Miss X literally wiped the floor with her opponent.

(A comment by Punch on a statement in a newspaper that throughout a certain debate Mr. Gladstone had sat "literally glued to the Treasury Bench") " That's torn it" said the grand old man, as he literally wrenched himself away to dinner.

(Of a certain horse) It literally ran away with the Two Thousand Guineas.

(Of a rackets player) He literally blasted his opponent out of the court.

M. Clemenceau literally exploded during the argument.

He literally died in harness.

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