re·​al·​i·​ty | \ rē-ˈa-lə-tē How to pronounce reality (audio) \
plural realities

Definition of reality

1 : the quality or state of being real
2a(1) : a real event, entity, or state of affairs his dream became a reality
(2) : the totality of real things and events trying to escape from reality
b : something that is neither derivative nor dependent but exists necessarily
3 : television programming that features videos of actual occurrences (such as a police chase, stunt, or natural disaster) often used attributively reality TV
in reality
: in actual fact

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Synonyms & Antonyms for reality


actuality, case, fact, materiality


fantasy (also phantasy), fiction, illusion

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Examples of reality in a Sentence

the difference between fiction and reality The reality is that we can't afford to buy a house. He used television as an escape from reality. They made the plan a reality.
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Recent Examples on the Web

It’s hard to find people, putting aside our president, who deny the basic science and the basic realities of it, and most people want to participate in the solution. Kate Wheeling, The New Republic, "Jonathan Safran Foer on Our Moral Obligation to Eat Better," 17 Sep. 2019 But Hirsi believes that this reality can be transformed into strength. Nylah Burton, Essence, "Isra Hirsi Wants You To Join The Climate Strike On September 20," 17 Sep. 2019 Most notably, the recent and not-so-recent past was revisited again and again, not to exploit simple nostalgia but to illuminate present-day realities that hovered over nearly every movie - whether fiction or nonfiction, polemic or pure escapism. Ann Hornaday, Houston Chronicle, "Movies grapple with a thorny present by revisiting the past at the Toronto International Film Fest," 16 Sep. 2019 But the reality behind that progress is more complicated. J.d. Morris,, "California trumpets its climate leadership. But wildfires and flying could stymie its goals," 16 Sep. 2019 The reality has fallen short, at least in the first year of the partnership. Kevin Draper, New York Times, "Colin Kaepernick ‘Dream Crazy’ Ad Wins Nike an Emmy," 16 Sep. 2019 Director Matthew MacDermid has grounded this production, despite all its high-minded ideals, in complete reality. Matthew J. Palm,, "Compelling ‘Niceties’ is a wake-up call for all of us | Review," 14 Sep. 2019 Alma also is dealing with some very serious issues — unhappiness with her life, an auto accident, visions of her dead dad (Bob Odenkirk) and an alternate reality — all of which cause those close to her to question her mental state. Jeanne Jakle,, "The 15 new fall 2019 TV shows you need to watch," 12 Sep. 2019 The TVs come with an Onkyo soundbar, will support augmented reality content, use AI learning, have a retractable camera, and offer a second mini-screen for independent viewing. Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, "The Best Tech From IFA 2019," 10 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'reality.' 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 reality

1550, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for reality

Last Updated

8 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for reality

The first known use of reality was in 1550

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More Definitions for reality



English Language Learners Definition of reality

: the true situation that exists : the real situation
: something that actually exists or happens : a real event, occurrence, situation, etc.


re·​al·​i·​ty | \ rē-ˈa-lə-tē How to pronounce reality (audio) \
plural realities

Kids Definition of reality

1 : the way things actually are Our trip is over. Now it's back to reality.
2 : someone or something that is real or actually exists He made his dream a reality.

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Comments on reality

What made you want to look up reality? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to fake an opponent out of position

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