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adjective re·al \ˈrē(-ə)l\

Simple Definition of real

  • : actually existing or happening : not imaginary

  • : not fake, false, or artificial

  • : important and deserving to be regarded or treated in a serious way

Full Definition of real

  1. 1 :  of or relating to fixed, permanent, or immovable things (as lands or tenements)

  2. 2 a :  not artificial, fraudulent, or illusory :  genuine <real gold>; also :  being precisely what the name implies <a real professional> b (1) :  occurring or existing in actuality <saw a real live celebrity> <a story of real life> (2) :  of or relating to practical or everyday concerns or activities <left school to live in the real world> (3) :  existing as a physical entity and having properties that deviate from an ideal, law, or standard <a real gas> — compare ideal 3b c :  having objective independent existence <unable to believe that what he saw was real> d :  fundamental, essential e (1) :  belonging to or having elements or components that belong to the set of real numbers <the real roots of an equation> <a real matrix> (2) :  concerned with or containing real numbers <real analysis> (3) :  real-valued <real variable> f :  measured by purchasing power <real income> <real dollars> g :  complete, utter <a real fiasco>

  3. 3 of a particle :  capable of being detected — compare virtual 3

re·al·ness noun
for real
  1. 1 :  in earnest :  seriously <fighting for real>

  2. 2 :  genuine <couldn't believe the threats were for real>

  3. 3 :  genuinely good or capable of success (as in competition) <not yet sure if this team is for real>

Examples of real

  1. The movie is based on real events.

  2. The detective Sherlock Holmes is not a real person.

  3. He has no real power; he is just a figurehead.

  4. The battle scenes in the movie seemed very real to me.

  5. The team has a real chance at winning.

  6. There is a very real possibility that we will be moving to Maine.

  7. In real life, relationships are not perfect.

  8. The actor looks taller on TV than he does in real life.

  9. He's always daydreaming and seems to be out of touch with the real world.

  10. What is his real name?

Origin of real

Middle English, real, relating to things (in law), from Anglo-French, from Medieval Latin & Late Latin; Medieval Latin realis relating to things (in law), from Late Latin, real, from Latin res thing, fact; akin to Sanskrit rayi property

First Known Use: 14th century



noun re·al

Definition of real

  1. :  a real thing; especially :  a mathematically real quantity

Circa 1626

First Known Use of real

circa 1626



adverb re·al

Simple Definition of real

  • : very or really

Full Definition of real

  1. :  very <he was real cool — H. M. McLuhan>

Usage Discussion of real

Most handbooks consider the adverb real to be informal and more suitable to speech than writing. Our evidence shows these observations to be true in the main, but real is becoming more common in writing of an informal, conversational style. It is used as an intensifier only and is not interchangeable with really except in that use.

Examples of real

  1. We had a real good time.

  2. The water is real warm.

  3. We went to bed real late.


First Known Use of real




noun re·al \rā-ˈäl\

Definition of real

plural reals or re·ales play \-ˈä-(ˌ)lās\

  1. :  a former monetary unit and coin of Spain and its possessions

Origin of real

Spanish, from real royal, from Latin regalis — more at royal

First Known Use: 1555



noun re·al \rā-ˈäl\

Definition of real

plural reals or reis play \ˈrāsh, ˈrās, ˈrāzh, ˈrāz\

  1. 1 :  a former monetary unit and coin of Portugal

  2. 2 — see money table

Origin of real

Portuguese, from real royal, from Latin regalis

First Known Use: 1951

Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up real? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


February 11, 2016

the holder of an office

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