sur·​re·​al·​ism sə-ˈrē-ə-ˌli-zəm How to pronounce surrealism (audio)
 also  -ˈrā-
: 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
sə-ˈrē-ə-list How to pronounce surrealism (audio)
 also  -ˈrā-
noun or adjective

Examples of surrealism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web From conflicts on Earth to the vast unknowns of the universe, Susan Fang’s new season observes surrounding events but paints a picture of hope and love with a touch of surrealism. Angela Lei, Forbes, 19 Feb. 2024 Through this sly trick, where doorknobs rise to noses and walls tower high above the hairline, Argento sketches a vision of witchy terror akin to early works of German surrealism. Declan Gallagher,, 23 Oct. 2023 The historical novels that make up most of his oeuvre favor the Enlightenment and its ideas, but there are also currents of mid-twentieth-century surrealism and existentialism, Afro-Caribbean legend, Hollywoodesque epic, and Victorian maximalism. Natasha Wimmer, The New York Review of Books, 1 Feb. 2024 Professors also taught us to appreciate the compositions of Latin American artists like Wilfredo Lam and Roberto Matta’s mesmerizing merging of abstraction and surrealism. Pablo Helguera, Los Angeles Times, 19 Sep. 2023 Roth’s timing becomes discomforting in the climactic holiday-dinner scene that pushes past Norman Rockwell convention into monstrous surrealism (a human centerpiece worthy of Lars Von Trier’s The House That Jack Built). Armond White, National Review, 29 Nov. 2023 And then there are bouts of surrealism weaved throughout the film. Carolyn Giardina, The Hollywood Reporter, 19 Dec. 2023 Developed over the decade prior to Sondheim’s death in 2021, the musical draws inspiration from two films by avant garde director Luis Buñuel, whose surrealism and social satire bind the show’s two stylistically disparate parts together. Naveen Kumar, Variety, 22 Oct. 2023 Still, for him and for others, surrealism was often a genre too far. Jesse Green, New York Times, 22 Oct. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'surrealism.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


French surréalisme, from sur- + réalisme realism

First Known Use

1925, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of surrealism was in 1925

Dictionary Entries Near surrealism

Cite this Entry

“Surrealism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Feb. 2024.

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