re·​al·​ist | \ ˈrē-ə-list How to pronounce realist (audio) \
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 This idea owes much to the classical realist school of foreign policy, which, following the émigré political scientist Hans Morgenthau, maintains that nations have an animus dominandi, a will to dominate. Daniel Bessner, Harper’s Magazine , 22 June 2022 Going back forces George to face his past in his quest to rewrite the script of his life and discover the contribution of African influences to the realist tradition. Brent Lang, Variety, 16 June 2022 The Work of Francis De Erdely’ Social realist paintings by the midcentury L.A. artist are on view through Oct. 23. Matt Cooperlistings Coordinator, Los Angeles Times, 1 June 2022 Michelle Williams reunites with Portland auteur Kelly Reichardt (First Cow, Wendy & Lucy) on what promises to be another low-key realist masterwork. Leah Greenblatt,, 17 May 2022 This perhaps best encapsulates Seydoux on film, an idealist and a realist, with film itself being both a business and an art to her. Mia Galuppo, The Hollywood Reporter, 10 May 2022 Grossman’s sweeping book Life and Fate illustrates the alienating nature of war in urgent, gripping, and elegant prose, providing an unmatched realist account of the 1942–43 Battle of Stalingrad. Farah Abdessamad, The Atlantic, 12 Apr. 2022 Instead, his foreign policy resolved itself as consistent with a realist-Right perspective that has a long history in the conservative movement. Ben Domenech, National Review, 5 Apr. 2022 An observational documentary and also a magical realist visit to the Lausanne suburbs where, for some unknown reason, two watchmen are guarding a small river in a nearby park. Leo Barraclough, Variety, 31 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective All around the internet, food is being given the realist era treatment: a cinnamon bun oozes with icing, a chocolate chip cookie floats on a lavender background, and a box of Cheez-Its winks coquettishly atop a blue tapestry. Bon Appétit, 1 June 2022 Both are surrealist, in a way, and both are hyper-realist. Scott Roxborough, The Hollywood Reporter, 20 May 2022 Their first attempts borrowed from realist Western techniques, just as Albert Namatjira (1902-59), Australia’s first Indigenous painter of renown, had a generation before. Anthony Ham, Smithsonian Magazine, 13 May 2022 Neri then called Hilary Pecis, a realist painter of interiors and landscapes, and Megan Reed, a sculptor who had once been Neri’s student. Dodie Kazanjian, Vogue, 12 Mar. 2022 Its founder, Shōhei Imamura, was a luminary of Japanese New Wave cinema, known for his harshly realist films about prostitutes, bar hostesses, and straggling theatre troupes. Merve Emre, The New Yorker, 22 Feb. 2022 The sound was marked, lyrically, by concern for the working class and a realist approach to romance: there are no guarantees in life, so drive it like it’s stolen. Amanda Petrusich, The New Yorker, 17 Jan. 2022 John Mearsheimer, the realist international-relations theorist at the University of Chicago, has been arguing for years that NATO expansion was a mistake and that the United States ought to limit its conflicts with Putin in order to focus on China. Benjamin Wallace-wells, The New Yorker, 11 Feb. 2022 His Usnavi, a young bodega owner who had to grow up too fast, is half realist, half dreamer and all in for what life brings. Matthew J. Palm,, 5 Oct. 2021 See More

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.

First Known Use of realist


1817, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1853, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

28 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Realist.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 4 Jul. 2022.

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