Abstract The purpose of this essay is to test the roadworthiness of literal meaning. The test involves a review of some influential views of literal meaning and related categories advanced by Searle and other pragmaticists, from the standpoint of what is becoming known as integrational linguistics. The integrational linguistic position will be only fleetingly sketched; its essential tenet is that language is always contexually-embedded, and that this contextualization is always open to change. For integrationalists, ‘contextualizedness’ amounts to a design feature of language. The implications of an integrational perspective, it is argued, need to be reflected in our theorizing about literal meaning.