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

Examples of surrealism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web In this impressionistic, dreamlike collection, Navarro, a Spanish writer, deploys surrealism to comic, haunting effect: a floating grandmother, a pawlike appendage growing from an ear. New York Times, "New & Noteworthy, From Food Policy to Communicating With the Dead," 2 Feb. 2021 Liman renders those little details with appropriate surrealism and humor. David Sims, The Atlantic, "The Early-Pandemic Heist Thriller That No One Asked For," 16 Jan. 2021 The artist, who teaches at St. Mary’s College of Maryland, is both inspired by and skeptical of Dada and surrealism. Washington Post, "In the galleries: A satire on images of women and the objects they advertise," 25 Dec. 2020 His Weinstein Gallery, specializing in surrealism and abstraction from 1920 through World War II, is based in San Francisco. Los Angeles Times, "Rare 310-year-old violin stolen from art dealer’s Los Feliz home," 24 Dec. 2020 There’s urban-ghetto reality in Kurzel’s surrealism. Armond White, National Review, "2020’s Great Gangsta Epic," 18 Dec. 2020 The good news was published by the Commerce Department’s Bureau of Economic Analysis on the Thursday before the election to much fanfare from Trump, but this looked more like through-the-looking-glass surrealism than trustworthy economic policy. Christopher Caldwell, The New Republic, "The Biden Popular Front Is Doomed to Unravel," 23 Nov. 2020 The book arrays random but potent images in a way that recalls surrealism, which was keen on dream logic, but also mid-20th-century pop culture. Washington Post, "In the galleries: The Washington colorists and the CIA," 20 Nov. 2020 New coronavirus restrictions put a spotlight on two Belgian classics this week: Beer and surrealism. Raf Casert And Mark Carlson, Star Tribune, "Bar or restaurant? The big issue in pandemic-struck Brussels," 9 Oct. 2020

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

15 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Surrealism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for surrealism



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

More from Merriam-Webster on surrealism

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

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