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

Five Star proved divided between its realist leaders, who saw the Democratic Party as a slippery life raft, and the party orthodoxy who warned that a deal would prove deadly to the party’s hard-core base. Jason Horowitz, New York Times, "New Government Takes Shape in Italy, Sidelining Salvini and the Hard Right," 28 Aug. 2019 Though Asian American cinema typically addresses immigration in a realist mode, the actual experience can also be surreal, disjointed, phantasmal. Zoë Hu, The New Republic, "Crazy Sad Asians," 27 Aug. 2019 This is Obreht’s first novel since her 2011 debut, The Tiger’s Wife, an immersive magical-realist family tale set in an unnamed Balkan country during the mid-20th century. David Canfield,, "A close read of Inland, the rare novel with a perfect ending," 15 Aug. 2019 So while Mikulak pumped his fists in joy after clinching his modern era-record sixth national title Saturday night by topping runner-up Yul Moldauer by a staggering 5.550 points, Mikulak remains equal parts perfectionist and realist. Will Graves,, "Sam Mikulak cruises to sixth U.S. title in men’s gymnastics; Baltimore’s Donnell Whittenburg places seventh," 11 Aug. 2019 The fish tube, on the other hand, is a magical realist one-way ticket to anywhere but here. Emma Grey Ellis, WIRED, "Dive Into the Existential Escapism of the Fish Tube," 19 Aug. 2019 Du Bois, a realist, wondered if Stoddard would show up. Ian Frazier, The New Yorker, "When W. E. B. Du Bois Made a Laughingstock of a White Supremacist," 19 Aug. 2019 Jorg Dubin’s loosely realist painting depicts a pistol-packing, pink-hatted nude woman who refuses to be groped. Mark Jenkins, Washington Post, "In the galleries: At two Washington spaces, art of a political caliber," 16 Aug. 2019 Inspired by her upbringing in the Northwest, Sims is a classical realist who paints wildlife and scenes from nature. Rachel Steffan,, "Something for everyone at Havre de Grace Art Show this weekend," 14 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

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


1547 , in the meaning defined at sense 1


1853, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for realist

Last Updated

8 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for realist

The first known use of realist was in 1547

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More Definitions for realist



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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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

Comments on realist

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to make a temporary encampment

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