re·​al·​ism ˈrē-ə-ˌli-zəm How to pronounce realism (audio)
: concern for fact or reality and rejection of the impractical and visionary
: a doctrine that universals exist outside the mind
specifically : the conception that an abstract term names an independent and unitary reality
: a theory that objects of sense perception or cognition exist independently of the mind compare nominalism
: the theory or practice of fidelity in art and literature to nature or to real life and to accurate representation without idealization

Examples of realism in a Sentence

He has a sense of realism about what can be done to improve the economy. The realism of her dream was alarming. the stark realism of the play
Recent Examples on the Web The production attempts to balance the theatricality and realism by maintaining a lot of breathing room between pieces of furniture. Charles McNulty, Los Angeles Times, 9 May 2024 The result was an almost nauseating realism, says Turner. Marco Della Cava, USA TODAY, 25 Jan. 2024 See all Example Sentences for realism 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'realism.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1817, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of realism was in 1817

Dictionary Entries Near realism

Cite this Entry

“Realism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 18 May. 2024.

Kids Definition


re·​al·​ism ˈrē-ə-ˌliz-əm How to pronounce realism (audio)
: willingness to face facts and to give in to what is necessary
: the showing of things as they really are in art, literature, and theater
realist adjective or noun

More from Merriam-Webster on realism

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