surreal

adjective
sur·re·al | \sə-ˈrē(-ə)l also -ˈrā-əl \

Definition of surreal 

(Entry 1 of 3)

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

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Other Words from surreal

Adjective

surreality \(ˌ)sə-rē-ˈa-lə-tē \ noun
surreally adverb

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.

Examples of surreal in a Sentence

Adjective

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 Kaplan, Newsweek, 3 Mar. 2008 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 Samant, The Out Traveler, May/June 2005 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 Cooper, Commonweal, 23 Apr. 2004 The whole thing was completely surreal.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Heard from one surivor that the whole experience was surreal. CBS News, "Dog feared dead in Virginia helicopter crash found alive inside damaged home," 9 July 2018 The Ant-Man movies offer glimpses of what Hank Pym's life pre-Ant-Man was like, and this four-parter from the late '80s pulls the curtain back even more in a surreal and wonderful way: Cold War drama! Graeme Mcmillan, WIRED, "5 Comics You Should Read Before Seeing Ant-Man and the Wasp," 4 July 2018 People who got given one surreal, yet totally tangible shock. SI.com, "How Jeff Shi and Fosun International Transformed Wolverhampton Wanderers Into a Premier League Side," 12 July 2018 Boi is gruff and direct; Darius is mellow and surreal. Janice Williams, Newsweek, "'Atlanta' Star Brian Tyree Henry Teases Paper Boi's Season 2 Journey—Conflicts With Earn, Darius and Dealing With Fame," 28 Feb. 2018 June 12, 2018 At the time of publication, the account has already amassed around 92,000 followers (and rising quickly)—further proof that this is the exact brand of idiotic and surreal humor to soothe America’s chapped soul. Cady Drell, Marie Claire, "'Wheel Of Fortune Answers' Is the Best Thing on Twitter Right Now," 12 June 2018 Dividing her time between New Orleans and Mexico, Sacabo's work is influenced by her homes, resulting in dreamlike, surreal and romantic imagery. Sarah Bonnette, NOLA.com, "Artscape: Two exhibitions will showcase talents of female artists," 23 May 2018 Former Trump campaign aide Sam Nunberg had a surreal day Monday. Aaron Blake, Washington Post, "What on earth was Sam Nunberg doing? A few theories.," 6 Mar. 2018 Patrick is like an upper crust Hunter S. Thompson, with a seemingly endless ability to ingest drugs and cope with the very surreal results. Matthew Gilbert, BostonGlobe.com, "‘Patrick Melrose’ and ‘Little Women’: opposite portraits of the ties that bind," 9 May 2018

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.

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First Known Use of surreal

Adjective

1937, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for surreal

Adjective

back-formation from surrealism

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Learn More about surreal

Dictionary Entries near surreal

surprisingly

surr

surra

surreal

surrealism

surrealistic

surrebut

Statistics for surreal

Last Updated

16 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for surreal

The first known use of surreal was in 1937

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More Definitions for surreal

surreal

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of surreal

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on surreal

Spanish Central: Translation of surreal

Nglish: Translation of surreal for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of surreal for Arabic Speakers

Comments on surreal

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