un·​re·​al·​i·​ty | \ ˌən-rē-ˈa-lə-tē \

Definition of unreality

1a : the quality or state of being unreal : lack of substance or validity
b : something unreal, insubstantial, or visionary : figment
2 : ineptitude in dealing with reality

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of unreality in a Sentence

a sci-fi author who seems to have preferred the unrealities of his own fiction to the realities of the world about him

Recent Examples on the Web

Outside San Francisco’s 49 square miles of unreality, economies like those of Europe have a social safety net to dampen the hardships for the lower classes. Antonio García Martínez, WIRED, "How Silicon Valley Fuels an Informal Caste System," 9 July 2018 Eventually a miasma of unreality comes to pervade the book. Annika Neklason, The Atlantic, "‘The Trust of the Reader Is Distrusted by Roth’," 24 May 2018 These could be flashes of light, geometric shapes, distortions of faces, auditory or visual hallucinations, a feeling of familiarity or unreality, the urge to move a specific limb, and so on. Christof Koch, Scientific American, "What Is Consciousness?," 8 May 2018 Reitman, Cody and Theron all work to convey that middle-of-the-night feeling, the broken stillness and the drudgery, and hovering over it all, some vague sense of unreality. Mick Lasalle, Houston Chronicle, "Review: ‘Tully’ is mixed results for Jason Reitman, Diablo Cody and Charlize Theron reunion," 4 May 2018 His controlled style set against cold interiors, juxtaposed with the near mythical disappearance of the boy, highlights the unreality of the situation and draws attention to the film’s metaphorical power. Katie Walsh, idahostatesman, "Bleak ‘Loveless’ is a call for empathy | Idaho Statesman," 19 Apr. 2018 The air of unreality is further deepened by a soundtrack heavy on percussion, shown throughout the film to be played by drummers in a gym with a basketball hoop dressed as if for sumo wrestling. Christian Lorentzen, The New Republic, "The earnest, ironic stylings of Wes Anderson’s “Isle of Dogs”," 21 Mar. 2018 But, as the Russian investigation heats up, and the shadowplay in the wake of the release of The Memo continues to entertain The Base, and the sense of unreality is beginning to feel extraordinarily normal. Charles P. Pierce, Esquire, "This Is the Face of the Next Government Shutdown," 5 Feb. 2018 In an apparent confirmation of the scene’s unreality, the man then rings a palm-size bell, echoing the horses’ bells in the first scene. Peter Tonguette, WSJ, "The Interpretation of Dreams," 15 Dec. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'unreality.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of unreality

1744, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about unreality

Statistics for unreality

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for unreality

The first known use of unreality was in 1744

See more words from the same year

More from Merriam-Webster on unreality

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with unreality

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for unreality

Comments on unreality

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


very full or close together

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What did you just call me?! A Quiz

  • rows-of-various-emoji
  • If a member of the audience describes your speech as bombastic, does that person mean it is:
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!