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 Like Anton Chekhov, Hopper was both a realist and a ruthless editor. Washington Post, "This Edward Hopper exhibition on hotels is worth an extended stay," 28 Nov. 2019 The subject of energy production on public land has been controversial for many years, with many realists recognizing that significant revenues are available to fiscally strapped state governments via land-lease deals with energy producers. David L. Bahnsen, National Review, "The Warren Fracking Ban: On Public Lands, and Heck, Everywhere Else," 28 Jan. 2020 Lerner, however, is writing in a time of doubt about the realist writer’s authority to take us very far beyond the bounds of his own experience. Elaine Blair, The New York Review of Books, "Learning to Fight," 28 Jan. 2020 The truth is, the biggest, realist problem is whatever problem any of us is facing right here, right now, in this moment, regardless of the age and stage of our offspring. Meaghan Murphy, Good Housekeeping, "Parents, Why Do We Belittle Each Other's Problems?," 7 Oct. 2019 Not just because the young idealist who wanted to save the world has evolved into a wizened realist. Kevin Cullen,, "The education of an empathetic policy maker," 9 Jan. 2020 Some fans have taken the realist approach to the question. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Kris Jenner's Doppelganger Interviews a Young Beyoncé in This Vintage Clip from 1992," 14 Dec. 2019 The closest thing to a realist in this crew, Matthew Mann paints actual things precisely but emphasizes patterns and surrealistic winks. Mark Jenkins, Washington Post, "In the galleries: ‘Sea of Change’ exhibition sets the voyage on a different course," 6 Dec. 2019 Like many leftist parties the SPD has regularly had to balance internal tensions between idealists and realists. The Economist, "Germany’s Social Democrats elect left-wing leaders," 30 Nov. 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Chris came into the game as one of the most confident and realist players in the Circle. Tamara Fuentes, Seventeen, "Who is Chris from "The Circle"?," 14 Jan. 2020 The booth contained dozens of human-sized screens with eerily realist avatars creeping everyone out. Popular Science, "The weirdest, wildest, and coolest images from CES 2020," 9 Jan. 2020 Few realist Democratic candidates for congressional seats wanted to run with Dean at the head of the ticket. Victor Davis Hanson, The Mercury News, "Hanson: Will 2020 be a repeat of 2004 for Democrats?," 8 Aug. 2019 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


1817, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1853, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of realist was in 1817

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Last Updated

23 Mar 2020

Cite this Entry

“Realist.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Mar. 2020.

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More Definitions for realist


How to pronounce realist (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of realist

: a person who understands what is real and possible in a particular situation : a person who accepts and deals with things as they really are
: an artist or writer who shows or describes people and things as they are in real life

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Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for realist

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Britannica English: Translation of realist for Arabic Speakers

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