re·​al·​ist | \ˈrē-ə-list \
plural realists

Definition of realist 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a person who recognizes what is real or possible in a particular situation : one who accepts and deals with things as they really are a political realist She considers herself a realist when it comes to parenting.

2 : a person (such as a writer or painter) who adheres to a style of realism by representing things in a way faithful to nature or to real life Chekhov was essentially more of a realist than Dostoevski, whose force often lay in a strong proclivity to melodrama …— Roger Shattuck



Definition of realist (Entry 2 of 2)

: in the style of realism : faithful in representation to nature or to real life realist paintings Though a number of Dahl's most engaging stories, particularly in his early career, are cast in a realist mode, his reputation is that of a writer of macabre, blackly jocose tales …— Joyce Carol Oates

Examples of realist in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Considered one of the best magical-realist novels, the book follows four generations of a Chilean family beset by political and cultural turmoil. Michael Schaub,, "Celebrate Independence Day with these 17 books by immigrant authors," 3 July 2018 Pivot’s reference to class struggle makes the novel sound like an inheritor to the French realist tradition of Balzac, Zola, Flaubert. Josephine Livingstone, New Republic, "The New Domestic Horror," 22 Jan. 2018 Both idealists and realists, Wolitzer’s characters would like to see a better world but find precious little room for principled choices amid the corporate structures that now govern more and more of life. Press Release, The New Republic, "The New Republic May Issue: The American Terror Industry," 19 Apr. 2018 At the same time, our realist commitments should be reconsidered. Philip Ball, WIRED, "Questioning Truth, Reality, and the Role of Scientific Progress," 2 June 2018 The Woodsman finds himself in over his head trying to bring them back and recruits the help of Danica, a hard-core realist who never believed in fairy tales. Stmichaelschool,, "St. Michael School Drama Club Presents "Mirror Image": Community Voices," 24 Jan. 2018 These descriptions — realist, historian, man of letters — while accurate, create a somewhat misleading impression, an implication of dryness or sterility that could not be further from the truth. New York Times, "How Luchino Visconti Made History Sing," 7 June 2018 Birthdays: Photo-realist artist Richard Estes is 86., "This day in history," 14 May 2018 The author of more than 25 books, Roth was a fierce satirist and uncompromising realist, confronting readers in a bold, direct style that scorned false sentiment or hopes for heavenly reward. Matt Campbell, kansascity, "In memoriam through May 25: Philip Roth, Robert Indiana, Joan Wile, Clint Walker | The Kansas City Star," 25 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

There is this other stream that doesn't get a lot of coverage in the media which is a more realist approach to foreign policy that does seek to have a different approach. Fox News, "Two FBI agents sought to 'stop' Trump," 18 June 2018 Children of Blood and Bone also draws on a very different, realist approach that has claimed attention in mainstream young-adult fiction in the post-Ferguson era. Vann R. Newkirk Ii, The Atlantic, "Where Fantasy Meets Black Lives Matter," 6 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'realist.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of realist


1547 , in the meaning defined at sense 1


1853, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for realist

Last Updated

20 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for realist

The first known use of realist was in 1547

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More from Merriam-Webster on realist

Spanish Central: Translation of realist

Nglish: Translation of realist for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of realist for Arabic Speakers

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a private place of worship

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