re·​al·​i·​ty rē-ˈa-lə-tē How to pronounce reality (audio)
plural realities
: the quality or state of being real
: a real event, entity, or state of affairs
his dream became a reality
: the totality of real things and events
trying to escape from reality
: something that is neither derivative nor dependent but exists necessarily
: television programming that features people (especially people who are not professional actors) dealing with real-life situations or participating in contrived activities (such as competitions)
I for one am rooting for anything that stems the rising tide of reality on television.Ted Cox
… it's a tough choice between The Voice and Dancing With the Stars. … If reality means nothing to you, then you're faced with a medical drama, a superhero drama and comedies.Chris Harnick
usually used before another noun
reality starsa reality seriesreality showsfans of reality TV/television… critical judge Simon Cowell praised him as "the best magician ever" on the Britain's Got Talent reality competition.Markos PapadatosThe Arkansas native competing on the popular reality dating show The Bachelor has advanced to become one of only three remaining… beat out 20,000 applicants to become one of 18 final contestants on Hell's Kitchen, the reality cooking show that banks on aspiring chefs' ambition (and vulnerabilities) and chef Gordon Ramsay's volatility.Sarah Reiss
in reality
: in actual fact

Example Sentences

the difference between fiction and reality The reality is that we can't afford to buy a house. He used television as an escape from reality. They made the plan a reality.
Recent Examples on the Web For example, did an idea that sounded great turn out to be a dud in reality? Jo Ilfeld, Forbes, 23 Feb. 2023 But there’s also a quality-control thing where the inventory system says there’s four items in the bin, but in reality, there’s only three items in the bin, because there’s been a defect somewhere. IEEE Spectrum, 22 Feb. 2023 In reality, some plant milks are likely to be superior to cow milk, according to Willett. Jacqueline Howard, CNN, 22 Feb. 2023 In reality, recent research shows that many people change—and, in some cases, change dramatically—over the course of their lifespan. WIRED, 21 Feb. 2023 In reality, doctors should be prescribing lifestyle changes and promoting healthy diets first, especially to young inexperienced patients. WSJ, 21 Feb. 2023 The Eat the Rich Killer is none other than Rhys Montrose (Ed Speelers), the beloved author who Joe himself admired as the member of the clique with one foot in reality. Quinci Legardye, Harper's BAZAAR, 20 Feb. 2023 And in reality, we are all buffeted by forces beyond our control. Maya Singer, Vogue, 20 Feb. 2023 The Smithsonian's Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden is entering the world of reality television. Town & Country, 10 Feb. 2023 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

circa 1513, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of reality was circa 1513

Dictionary Entries Near reality

Cite this Entry

“Reality.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Mar. 2023.

Kids Definition


re·​al·​i·​ty rē-ˈal-ət-ē How to pronounce reality (audio)
plural realities
: the quality or state of being real
: someone or something real or actual
our dream became a reality
: television programming that shows videos of actual occurrences (as police chases, stunts, or natural disasters)

More from Merriam-Webster on reality

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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