sur·​re·​al·​ism | \ sə-ˈrē-ə-ˌli-zəm also -ˈrā- How to pronounce surrealism (audio) \

Definition of surrealism

: the principles, ideals, or practice of producing fantastic or incongruous imagery or effects in art, literature, film, or theater by means of unnatural or irrational juxtapositions and combinations

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Other Words from surrealism

surrealist \ sə-​ˈrē-​ə-​list also , -​ˈrā-​ How to pronounce surrealist (audio) \ noun or adjective

Examples of surrealism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web There’s a kind of a hyperrealism there and a kind of surrealism there. Charles Bethea, The New Yorker, "Finding Truth and Fiction on Film Sets in the South," 8 Dec. 2019 Far from accidental, this structure reflects the concepts and ideas being wrangled with in surrealism. Hadley Mendelsohn, House Beautiful, "How the New MoMA Uses Paint Colors to Change the Way We See Art," 6 Dec. 2019 Lending an air of South Side surrealism to the proceedings is that Ramos would face off in District 119 against Liz Campos, a local businesswoman who unsuccessfully challenged Ramos for City Council eight years ago. Gilbert Garcia,, "Gutierrez-Rodriguez match likely in Senate District 19," 16 Oct. 2019 The fourth episode proves the series can genuinely shock, too, veering past cheeky surrealism into the dark web of true horror. Darren Franich,, "Evil thoughtfully investigates religious uncertainty and SWEET JESUS, WHAT'S IN THE POOL?," 18 Oct. 2019 Vigliotti’s show included his landscape watercolors, a piece of surrealism and his series of lighted nighttime scenes. Lyndi Mcnulty,, "An Eye for Art: For painter, photographer Joe Vigliotti, art is about putting his heart into his work," 4 Dec. 2019 His style has matured over years of experimentation, informed by the moody glamour of Edward Steichen and the eerie surrealism of Man Ray. Eren Orbey, The New Yorker, "A Photographer’s Elaborate Transformations in His Childhood Bedroom," 18 July 2019 That opening image, whose surrealism gives way to a more or less straightforward, chronological slide down the time line of Tina Turner’s life, feels like an attempt to reunify Turner and her work, and to give a hint as to their source. Vinson Cunningham, The New Yorker, "The Legend of Tina Turner," 11 Nov. 2019 Chang studied the surrealism of Marcel Duchamp and the thoughtful simplicity of Robert Motherwell. Dallas News, "In Plano artist Jenney Chang's brush paintings, East and West come together," 19 Aug. 2019

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

1925, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for surrealism

French surréalisme, from sur- + réalisme realism

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Time Traveler for surrealism

Time Traveler

The first known use of surrealism was in 1925

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Statistics for surrealism

Last Updated

10 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Surrealism.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 20 January 2020.

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More Definitions for surrealism


How to pronounce surrealism (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of surrealism

: a 20th-century art form in which an artist or writer combines unrelated images or events in a very strange and dreamlike way

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More from Merriam-Webster on surrealism

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with surrealism

Spanish Central: Translation of surrealism

Britannica English: Translation of surrealism for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about surrealism

Comments on surrealism

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


not to be intimidated or subdued

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