sur·re·al·ism | \sə-ˈrē-ə-ˌli-zəm also -ˈrā- \

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-listalso, -ˈrā- \ noun or adjective

Examples of surrealism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The book oscillates between hilarious surrealism and shocking reality. The Economist, "Crime, punishment and the end of the world," 3 May 2018 On Monday night at this club in Bushwick, Brooklyn, Simon Hanes of Tredici Bacci will join Mr. Thirlwell onstage and the digital surrealism of Sten Backman will visually complement the set. New York Times, "13 Pop, Rock and Jazz Concerts to Check Out in N.Y.C. This Weekend," 28 June 2018 Kumiko was a wonderful transmutation of movie myth, a tragic tale that had real pathos while still exulting in the surrealism of Kumiko’s quest. David Sims, The Atlantic, "Damsel Is a One-Note Satire of Classic Westerns," 23 June 2018 The solution to them will likewise have to come through madness, through the kind of earned surrealism that emerges only from the ponds of sloshy human confusion. John Jeremiah Sullivan, GQ, "In Memoriam: Lil Peep," 28 Jan. 2018 Written and directed by Boots Riley, the indie comedy that opens Friday takes place in a present-day version of Oakland laced with satire and surrealism. Julie Hinds, Detroit Free Press, "Why Tessa Thompson's 'Sorry To Bother You' character is named Detroit," 11 July 2018 Kelly became a key figure in transmitting surrealism to the United States. Stephan Salisbury,, "Woodmere acquires vast trove of Arthur Carles' art," 5 June 2018 What results is a species of kitchen surrealism that adds up to more than mere formal cleverness; its effect on us is vertiginous. New York Times, "Notes From the Book Review Archives," 15 Feb. 2018 That movie, the director’s fourth, established him as an auteur of woman-in-trouble surrealism. The Economist, "David Lynch’s memoir illuminates the origins of his art," 14 June 2018

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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Last Updated

17 Oct 2018

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Time Traveler for surrealism

The first known use of surrealism was in 1925

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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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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).


exaggeratedly or childishly emotional

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