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re·al 1

 (rē′əl, rēl)
a. Being or occurring in fact or actuality; having verifiable existence: real objects; a real illness.
b. True and actual; not imaginary, alleged, or ideal: real people, not ghosts; a film based on real life.
c. Of or founded on practical matters and concerns: a recent graduate experiencing the real world for the first time.
2. Genuine and authentic; not artificial or spurious: real mink; real humility.
3. Being no less than what is stated; worthy of the name: a real friend.
4. Free of pretense, falsehood, or affectation: tourists hoping for a real experience on the guided tour.
5. Not to be taken lightly; serious: in real trouble.
6. Philosophy Existing objectively in the world regardless of subjectivity or conventions of thought or language.
7. Relating to, being, or having value reckoned by actual purchasing power: real income; real growth.
8. Physics Of, relating to, or being an image formed by light rays that converge in space.
9. Mathematics Of, relating to, or being a real number.
10. Law Of or relating to stationary or fixed property, such as buildings or land.
adv. Informal
Very: I'm real sorry about that.
1. A thing or whole having actual existence. Often used with the: theories beyond the realm of the real.
2. Mathematics A real number.
for real Slang
Truly so in fact or actuality: "Is this place for real? A wolf in a ... leisure suit and a cow in a print dress wait patiently on the couch in the lobby" (Teresa Carson).

[Middle English, from Old French, from Late Latin reālis, from Latin rēs, thing; see rē- in Indo-European roots.]

real′ness n.
Synonyms: real1, actual, true, existent
These adjectives mean not being imaginary but having verifiable existence. Real implies authenticity, genuineness, or factuality: Don't lose the bracelet; it's made of real gold. She showed real sympathy for my predicament.
Actual means existing and not merely potential or possible: "rocks, trees ... the actual world" (Henry David Thoreau).
True implies consistency with fact, reality, or actuality: "It is undesirable to believe a proposition when there is no ground whatever for supposing it true" (Bertrand Russell).
Existent applies to what has life or being: Much of the beluga caviar existent in the world is found near the Caspian Sea. See Also Synonyms at authentic.

re·al 2

n. pl. re·als or re·al·es (-ä′lĕs)
A silver coin formerly used in Spain and Latin America.

[Spanish, royal, real, from Latin rēgālis, royal, from rēx, rēg-, king; see reg- in Indo-European roots.]

re·al 3

n. pl. re·ais (rā-īsh′)
1. A unit of currency formerly used in Portugal.
2. See Table at currency.

[Portuguese, royal, real, from Latin rēgālis, royal; see real2.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


  1. Artificial like a piece of water in a French garden —W. Somerset Maugham
  2. Abstract and decorative as a snowstorm in a glass paperweight —George Garrett
  3. Artificial as a false mustache —Dorothea Straus
  4. Blurred, unreal, like a picture in the newspaper —Katherine Mansfield
  5. Distorted as the view through the wrong end of a telescope —Anon
  6. False as waxworks —Karl Shapiro
  7. (Sometimes I) feel like a figment of my own imagination —Lily Tomlin
  8. Genuine as rain —J. B. Priestly
  9. Had a squinty close view of the truth like a jeweler studying facets and flaws, like a man at a microscope —George Garrett
  10. He could block out reality as easily as exposing a roll of film —Jonathan Kellerman
  11. Real and insistent as a wound in one’s body —Milovan Djilas
  12. (The pain returned) real as a toothache —John Braine
  13. Real as hunger —Anon
  14. Real as several grain sacks thrown on top of each other —Flannery O’Connor
  15. Real as the passing of time —Anon
  16. (You and I are as) real at least as the people upstairs —James Merrill
  17. Reality met him like a swung shovel —Sharon Sheehe Stark
  18. (The room seemed as) unreal as a stage set —William Mcllvanney
  19. Real, like a punch on the nose —Stephen Longstreet
  20. Unreal, as ghostly as the brushing of a leaf against his face —Katherine Anne Porter
  21. Unreal as the emptiness of the air —Leonid Andreyev
  22. Unreal, like a poorly-played drama on the stage —Ben Ames Williams
  23. Unreal like mid-summer sunshine remembered at Christmas —Elizabeth Bowen
Similes Dictionary, 1st Edition. © 1988 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.realness - the state of being actual or real; "the reality of his situation slowly dawned on him"
actuality - the state of actually existing objectively; "a hope that progressed from possibility to actuality"
fact - an event known to have happened or something known to have existed; "your fears have no basis in fact"; "how much of the story is fact and how much fiction is hard to tell"
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


The quality of being authentic:
The American Heritage® Roget's Thesaurus. Copyright © 2013, 2014 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
References in classic literature ?
And as he talked, steadily, interestingly, he was doing what Dag Daughtry never dreamed he was doing, and what made Kwaque, looking on, almost dream he was seeing because of the unrealness and impossibleness of it.
As Dale left, I realised that I was experiencing a slightly altered state of consciousness, not a state as extreme as a dissociation, but a strange sense of 'unrealness'.
He said: "This morning they have been plunged into a great and terrible grief, a numbness, a saddness, an unrealness and an awful nightmare.