surreal

adjective sur·re·al \ sə-ˈrē(-ə)l also -ˈrā-əl \
Updated on: 22 Nov 2017

Definition of surreal

1 : marked by the intense irrational reality of a dream; also : unbelievable, fantastic
  • surreal sums of money

surreality

play \(ˌ)sə-rē-ˈa-lə-tē\ noun

surreally

adverb

Examples of surreal in a Sentence

  1. Despite all the hassle, though, I would not want an ordinary name. I know of one other person in the world who shares my name, first and last. I know nothing about her except that she lived in New York at the same time I did, and that she and I subscribed to a few of the same publications. I found myself in the surreal position of having to explain to circulation departments that I was, in fact, me, and not that other version of me on the West Side. —Johnna KaplanNewsweek3 Mar. 2008
  2. Films aren't just a part of life for people in India; they are a way of life. The over-the-top, surreal dance numbers in nearly every Bollywood film often make no sense in relation to the story, but no one seems to be complaining. —Shashank SamantThe Out TravelerMay/June 2005
  3. The movie achieves a truly rare mix of the absurd, the surreal, and the heartfelt. Improbably, its wacked-out premise and structural hilarity concoct a melancholy meditation on love, loss, and memory, while delivering a message—subversive to our culture's therapeutic optimism—about the tragedy of healing. —Rand Richards CooperCommonweal23 Apr. 2004
  4. The whole thing was completely surreal.

Recent Examples of surreal from the Web

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

Did You Know?

In 1924 a group of European poets, painters, and filmmakers founded a movement that they called Surrealism. Their central idea was that the unconscious mind (a concept Sigmund Freud had recently made famous) was the source of all imagination, and that art should try to express its contents. The unconscious, they believed, revealed itself most clearly in dreams. The Surrealist painters included René Magritte, Joan Miró, and Salvador Dalí, whose "limp watches" painting became the best-known Surrealist image of all. Since those years, we've used surreal to describe all kinds of situations that strike us as dreamlike. And even though the Surrealist movement ended long ago, surrealism now seems to be everywhere—not just in painting, literature, and movies but also in blogs, video games, and graphic novels.

Origin and Etymology of surreal

back-formation from surrealism


SURREAL Defined for English Language Learners

surreal

adjective

Definition of surreal for English Language Learners

  • : very strange or unusual : having the quality of a dream



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