Main definitions of real in English

: real1real2

real1

adjective

  • 1Actually existing as a thing or occurring in fact; not imagined or supposed.

    ‘Julius Caesar was a real person’
    ‘her many illnesses, real and imaginary’
    • ‘Young Miller was, in fact, the only real striking prospect Scotland had seen in some time.’
    • ‘It seems far-fetched but most of the things that happened in the first series were actually based on real events.’
    • ‘This may sound strange and unbelievable to you, but it is real and true.’
    • ‘So if Cold Fusion is real, I imagine some major physics needs a rethink.’
    • ‘Why do you attack them without bothering to do any real investigation of the situation?’
    • ‘I suppose real macaroni pie uses this kind, but I was never able to find it in the United States.’
    • ‘The scene from the bank ‘falsely portrayed’ is in fact an accurate portrayal of real events.’
    • ‘He could hear an odd rushing sound, but he couldn't tell if it was real or imagined.’
    • ‘In this decision, I am not jettisoning all case law developed by judicial decision on the facts of real cases.’
    • ‘The first setup reflects the situation in which a real data set is under scrutiny.’
    • ‘The real problem was the fact that no intelligent debate on organised crime had taken place, he said.’
    • ‘Sometimes I do this thing where I imagine that I'm reporting the events that aren't real.’
    • ‘In fact, the only real effect of his advancing age on his music has been to make him work with even greater concentration.’
    • ‘He was awed with the fact that they were real, but realized that she needed help quickly.’
    • ‘It is also the most imaginative, least dated, and actually has some real Gaelic.’
    • ‘The only real difference I suppose is that the Russians had longer to prepare.’
    • ‘A problem does not exist in splendid isolation as a concrete fact in the real world.’
    • ‘I don't think I've ever had to work under any real pressure, either real or imagined.’
    • ‘They make a big point on their site of assuring the viewer that the tank is in fact, not real.’
    • ‘That could affect their opinion before they hear the facts in a real trial.’
    actual, existent, non-fictional, non-fictitious, factual
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Used to emphasize the significance or seriousness of a situation.
      ‘there is a real danger of civil war’
      ‘the competitive threat from overseas is very real’
      • ‘I think there is a very real possibility, however, that you are an idiot.’
      • ‘Making their job a real chore is the fact that he keeps showing up in Trish's shadow, so smitten is he.’
      • ‘There were only two or three companies with any real significance trying to tap into the same market.’
      • ‘Lord Cooke said that the label nuisance or negligence was of no real significance.’
      • ‘What he had to say will have real significance for the future of the devolution experiment.’
      • ‘It is important to emphasize the real differences which exist between them.’
      • ‘In this film, I play a biker out to woo someone, which is indeed a very real situation for me.’
      • ‘But this applies only where the court is left in real doubt about the true meaning.’
      • ‘Strangely I'm proud to be where I'm from but I'd have a real problem defining British.’
      • ‘In fact, there are real questions about the viability and sustainability of this project.’
      • ‘If we fail to do so, we will inevitably fail to gauge the real significance of the changes which are occurring.’
      • ‘There is real concern that the situation in Darfur could derail the north-south peace deal.’
      • ‘I imagine he's having real trouble with the up-keep of his sprawling country estate at the moment.’
      • ‘We may think that in these passages there is no real distancing; what Socrates says is just what Plato thinks.’
      • ‘Naturally, there are real and significant human costs of modernisation.’
      • ‘It is especially true for America, as well, because we are a country with very real isolationist tendencies.’
      • ‘The chances of a stock overhang negatively skewing the UK market good and proper are very real.’
      • ‘When is something going to be done about this very real and sad situation?’
      • ‘The label nuisance or negligence is treated as being of no real significance.’
      • ‘The word may eventually cease to have any real significance, except in a historical context.’
      • ‘Mr Shean felt that there were very real dangers in this situation with a fragmenting relationship.’
    2. 1.2Philosophy Relating to something as it is, not merely as it may be described or distinguished.
      ‘Locke's distinction between the real and nominal essence of substances’
      • ‘Only knowledge of real essence, which we don't have and are unlikely to get, would provide that.’
      • ‘Phenomenology involves a radical change in all such positings of real existence.’
      • ‘By formal essence Spinoza means the real and independent nature of God.’
      • ‘Most generally, Locke had argued famously that real essences are unknowable.’
      • ‘Things like Money, Love, Countries are extended fictions that are very much part of our world but not real.’
  • 2(of a thing) not imitation or artificial; genuine.

    ‘the earring was presumably real gold’
    • ‘Try it, however, and a uniformed attendant will inform you it is art and that it is plated in real gold.’
    • ‘She slipped a tiny elastic banding ring over the long metal pin which connects my real leg to the artificial one.’
    • ‘The Buddha sculptures and even the bricks on the ground are carved with real gold.’
    • ‘I was a bit disappointed that he had questioned whether my hair was real.’
    • ‘He paid tribute to the bravery of the police involved in making the arrests, as they had not known whether the gun was real or imitation.’
    • ‘She said she would today lay both artificial and real flowers, but she was not being disrespectful in any way.’
    • ‘Long and shaggy, in real or imitation fur, Yeti coats are ideal partners against the cold.’
    • ‘This lightly scented gel contains particles of real gold to enhance the face or décolletage.’
    • ‘He realised that the answer to his business problems was to provide machines that made real coffee with fresh milk.’
    • ‘Is that his real hair colour?’
    • ‘He said that in many incidents police did not know if a weapon was real or imitation unless it was recovered later.’
    • ‘Trying to find anything up there is like trying to guess my real hair colour.’
    • ‘A quick bite of the card was taken just to check just how real the gold was.’
    • ‘Anyway, this year the whole family were gathered round so it was time to buy a real, genuine Christmas tree.’
    • ‘Then I got into pre-ground real coffee, and I guess I stuck at that for years.’
    • ‘But real coffee, roasted and ground and turned to seductive liquid, is a true pleasure.’
    • ‘In the past they've also had genuine stag and real ivory, both of which are now very hard to come by.’
    • ‘I want to be able to go over to Brick Lane in the East End to eat a real, genuine London bagel.’
    • ‘We learned the most expensive tea ware is made from a kind of purple clay flecked with real gold.’
    • ‘The possession of guns, both real and imitation, lies predominantly with young people.’
    genuine, authentic, bona fide, pukka
    sincere, genuine, true, unfeigned, unpretended, heartfelt, from the heart, unaffected, earnest, wholehearted, fervent, honest, truthful
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1 True or actual.
      ‘his real name is James’
      ‘this isn't my real reason for coming’
      • ‘The real glory was the fact that most of the postings were not from members.’
      • ‘Yes, it was a thoroughly enjoyable and fun night and real stars did in fact emerge.’
      • ‘The person sitting in front of the fire was shocked that the facts of the real story had been so misconstrued.’
      • ‘I hope I can show and tell you the real, true Japan that cannot be seen in other mas media.’
      • ‘Jeff takes them to the ruined house where the last lot disappeared and where the real witch was supposed to have been murdered.’
      • ‘I suppose the real test is what happens over the next few months and how we keep the friendship going.’
      • ‘This view has taken hold even despite the fact that the real dynamic of progress is currently unremarkable.’
      • ‘It has come out of the real situation that I see around me, where marriages are failing.’
      • ‘Now, in all fairness - we have not verified that this post was in fact penned by the real Miss Simpson.’
      • ‘The fact that real terrorists tend not to send letters before they plant bombs seemed not to occur to officials.’
      • ‘In fact, submerging your real identity even as you fake sincerity seems to be positively encouraged.’
      • ‘This is true, but the real crisis in legitimacy is caused by differential abstention rates.’
      • ‘The real significance of publications such as this are often only really treasured years later.’
      • ‘Rather than trying to sue Americans into submission, imagine a real solution for the problem.’
      • ‘If we take all of these criticisms as true, then the real blame belongs to the White House.’
      • ‘These hard facts indicate real motives behind enactment of this draconian law.’
      • ‘I would guess that most people watching this sort of news item do not sit there and imagine the real horror.’
      • ‘In fact, the real shift that is taking place is very different from this.’
      • ‘It seems that the state and central governments have been hiding the real facts.’
      • ‘But the point is that it is true, and the real question is the character of the candidate who tried to conceal his past.’
      true, actual
      View synonyms
    2. 2.2attributive Rightly so called; proper.
      ‘he's my idea of a real man’
      • ‘Everyone will be thinking about what type of real man uses something artificial to get a tan.’
      • ‘It's so nice to be at a proper keyboard with a real mouse instead of those stupid touch pad things.’
      • ‘There was in fact no real commitment from the Account Holder at all.’
      • ‘All agreed he is a true genius and a real perfectionist with timing and sound.’
      • ‘If war is when leaders discover themselves, it is also when parties discover who, in fact, their real leaders are.’
      • ‘Living this way is a good way to determine who your real friends are.’
      • ‘And now he says he wants everyone to know who their real friends and enemies were.’
      • ‘He dared to be honest and have integrity and do what a real journalist is supposed to do.’
      • ‘One critic has rightly described them as our real National Theatre.’
      • ‘Back in the days between leaving college and finding a real job, my friends and I drank like the proverbial fishes.’
      • ‘If you take June as your real friend, then you shouldn't say that about her!’
      • ‘So there is no real tension on the facts of this case between the judges of the Family Court on that issue.’
      • ‘The theory that there are no real enemies and friends in the film world, as in politics, is highlighted.’
      • ‘The only real anti-climax is the fact that it is all over way too soon.’
      • ‘If you don't want to tell an adult, you can tell a friend - but my real advice is to just chill.’
      • ‘In fact, a real network culture developed only in the 1840s and this is studied by Caron in the second part of his book.’
      • ‘My day here has been a complete waste of time, as it is most days in fact - a real waste of petrol.’
      • ‘Or if you want to be a real friend invite them along now for the ride.’
      • ‘This is the beginning of the real and true economics of information.’
      • ‘Little did I realize that this first political activity would lead me to a life of devotion to true justice and real freedom.’
      proper, true, rightly so called
      View synonyms
  • 3informal attributive Complete; utter (used for emphasis)

    ‘the tour turned out to be a real disaster’
    • ‘You'd never forget as you go through the film what real disaster has happened here.’
    • ‘It would turn into a disaster for Tom as a problem made the car a real handful.’
    • ‘I get a real sense of completion, no matter how small the thing I am completing is.’
    • ‘It was a perfect day, a real community occasion, and one which will long be remembered by everyone.’
    • ‘It paints a picture of real disasters on a global scale, in a set order and with attendant statistics.’
    • ‘The player's decision is a disaster for his club, a real kick in the teeth for his employers.’
    • ‘The chassis inspires real confidence, feels perfectly balanced and even gets better as you push it harder.’
    • ‘The latest result betrays a real inferiority complex within the Irish mindset.’
    • ‘He remembers his time there with real fondness and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.’
    • ‘The chorus is a real grower, complete with excellent guitar flourishes.’
    • ‘Most Zambian roads and what are called bridges especially in rural areas, are a real disaster.’
    • ‘So their reactions were similar to what would be found at the scene of a real disaster.’
    • ‘If they don't take on the role of guardians there is going to be a real disaster.’
    • ‘I think most people in this country see it's beginning to be a real disaster.’
    • ‘What happened next, he explains could lead to a real disaster in the future.’
    • ‘Yet the real disaster will be if Pyongyang continues on its present road to nowhere.’
    complete, utter, thorough, absolute, total, prize, perfect, veritable
    View synonyms
  • 4attributive Adjusted for changes in the value of money; assessed by purchasing power.

    ‘real incomes had fallen by 30 per cent’
    ‘an increase in real terms of 11.6 per cent’
    • ‘Funding for education is set to rise in real terms, over and above extra money for teachers' salary pay increases.’
    • ‘It only underscores my point that the real value of the Rand should be in that region.’
    • ‘We will maintain the value of welfare benefits in real terms plus economic growth - no more.’
    • ‘In real terms members are thus receiving less benefits for paying higher contributions.’
    • ‘If anything, the average market value of a scientist seems to be going down in real terms.’
    • ‘If that real value isn't there, then you should look at ways to introduce it or you shouldn't be there at all.’
    • ‘But high population growth means that this is a contraction in real terms.’
    • ‘This sounds a lot of money, but in real terms it will support just eight schemes.’
    • ‘Inflation also eats into the real value of the income from market returns received by farmers.’
    • ‘Duisenberg did not comment on how much the prices increased in real terms.’
    • ‘The cost of housing will fall in real terms if the CPI exceeds the rate of house price inflation.’
    • ‘So today's prices are, in real terms, at little more than half their highest levels.’
    • ‘In real terms, the study shows that household incomes have declined to 1989 levels.’
    • ‘Figures suggest that the minimum amount of money needed for subsistence is on the rise in real terms.’
    • ‘A consultant needs to add real value to an organisation to justify a fee of hundreds a day.’
    • ‘By the end of the decade, inflation had halved the real value of football payments.’
    • ‘It is real savings and not money that fund and make possible the production of better tools and machinery.’
    • ‘An unanticipated decline in the price level increases the value of firms' liabilities in real terms.’
    • ‘Only by demanding more cash balances and thus lowering prices can the dollars assume a higher real value.’
    • ‘Besides, the real value for money lies in the fact that paying a few pence more benefits so many.’
  • 5Mathematics
    (of a number or quantity) having no imaginary part.

    • ‘If we take two real numbers and multiply them together, we get another real number.’
    • ‘What you're doing is making it stick out along the real number line twice as far away from the origin.’
    • ‘Some of the symbols written down will form the sequences of figures which is the decimal of the real number which is being computed.’
    • ‘In this case, this is not a problem, since the domain of the sine function is all real numbers.’
    • ‘Cardan was the first to realise that one could work with quantities more general than the real numbers.’
  • 6Optics
    (of an image) of a kind in which the light that forms it actually passes through it; not virtual.

    • ‘It is easiest to observe real images when projected on an opaque screen.’
    • ‘Real images occur when objects are placed outside the focal length of a converging lens or outside the focal length of a converging mirror.’
    • ‘We saw in the last section that a real image is formed by light moving through a convex lens.’
    • ‘The only thing which would lead you to believe that these are not real images are the colours are simply too vivid and the imagery too sharp.’
    • ‘You don't see the real image formed by the camera lens, but you get a rough idea of what is in view.’

adverb

North American
informal
  • as submodifier Really; very.

    ‘my head hurts real bad’
    • ‘They can be real nice to you when you are the passenger, but when you are a fellow motorist, they will terrorize you.’
    • ‘If you take a picture, it just happens to look real nice if you show a little more than two thirds sky.’
    • ‘You have to say it real fast and furious while you assume the correct position with your palms.’
    • ‘It is a real nice setup that works to help out beginners but doesn't annoy veterans.’
    • ‘Whilst on the subject of friends I have met some real nice and interesting people in my few months here.’
    • ‘He had a real homely and jolly down to earth manner that endeared him to all.’
    • ‘All I know is my head hurt real bad during that time and then it was gone after a while.’
    • ‘It has been too warm lately and with long hair the dog gets real warm.’
    • ‘For a while, his brain was swollen so he hung his head like someone with a real bad headache.’
    • ‘We actually work in a room with no windows, but we decorated it real nice for Christmas.’
    extremely, exceedingly, exceptionally, especially, tremendously, immensely, vastly, hugely
    very, extremely, exceedingly, exceptionally, especially, tremendously, immensely, vastly, hugely
    View synonyms

Phrases

  • for real

    • 1informal Used to assert that something is genuine or is actually the case.

      ‘I'm not playing games—this is for real!’
      • ‘It almost sends a frisson of fear down one's spine as if it were all for real.’
      • ‘Do you want this guy for real, or are you just looking for great taste, less filling?’
      • ‘People have got used to hearing sterile music, but we do it for real.’
      • ‘It's not happening for real so it simply becomes a question of whether or not you believe it has narrative utility.’
      • ‘Someone wondered if all the questions on the page were for real, or if I made any up.’
      • ‘You get so used to seeing them on the news, I suppose, that seeing them for real doesn't come as a surprise.’
      • ‘By the time the concert began for real I was already sick of hearing the overture's opening bars.’
      • ‘If this is the real world, away from all the carnage and desolation, than this cannot be for real.’
      • ‘Well, I have understood it partly, but one thing I knew for sure, this guy is for real and he is world class.’
      • ‘It didn't work until I saw it for real, then hearing it worked.’
      1. 1.1North American Used in questions to express surprise or to question the truth or seriousness of what one has seen or heard.
        ‘are these guys for real?’
        • ‘Is This Guy For Real? This Republican candidate has a slim chance of making it to the White House.’
        • ‘I closed the door behind him, not completely sure if he was joking or if he was for real.’
        • ‘Will could only muster up a blank stare at this point, wondering if she was for real.’
        • ‘They mostly try to pull it off with a straight face, and play everything for real.’
        • ‘Is that little guy for real? Does he say where he gets his energy from, or is it part of a act?’
        • ‘By the time you hear the raver's whistle, you have to ask yourself if the Brothers are for real.’
  • get real!

    • informal Used to convey that an idea or statement is foolish or overly idealistic.

      ‘You want teens to have committed sexual relationships? Get real!’
      • ‘When foot-and-mouth disease took hold in Yorkshire last year, a schoolgirl touched the nation's hearts by telling the Prime Minister to ‘get real!’’
      • ‘It’s time to get real about loyalty.’
      • ‘The opposition need to get real on the issue of social mobility.’
      • ‘‘What did you think she would do,’ he asked himself. ‘Did you think she would just jump into your arms and everything would be perfect like it use to be? Man, get real!’’
  • a real live —

    • humorous Used to emphasize the existence or presence of something surprising or unusual.

      ‘a real live detective had been at the factory’
      • ‘Your job is to, once you have been presented with a real live child, help encourage that child's interest in the best way that you can.’
      • ‘I believe this is where real live performers steal the show.’
      • ‘I think there is a real live monkey living in my computer and he messes with my head by dealing me hands that cannot be won.’
      • ‘Have I ever shared with you my actual fear of real live trains?’
      • ‘Their problems are more complicated than hunger or lack of shelter, and that means they need real live people helping them out.’
      • ‘The fire alarm went off, and we thought it was a real live fire.’
      • ‘After three years I am actually taking a real live vacation where I pack a suitcase, get on a plane, and sleep in a hotel.’
      • ‘Yes, a real live tug-of-war; just like the times of old, when merely killing the odd dragon here and there wasn't enough to prove your strength.’
      • ‘So read books or listen to books or watch TV or listen to music or walk around in silence or have a conversation with some real live people.’
      • ‘He had the advantage of hearing some actual real live witnesses, I gather?’
  • real money

    • informal A significant amount of money.

      ‘they are willing to put real money into research’
      • ‘While the tourist trade is always welcome, the real money is in exports.’
      • ‘I believe in real money going into our public services - real money going into our schools and hospitals.’
      • ‘That represents real money, not just a creative, government money shuffle.’
      • ‘With all the money spent on advertising, they may never make any real money.’
      • ‘Yet, as anyone who has ever changed money here knows, real money gets quite a scrutiny before it is accepted and changed.’
      • ‘That's hardly fair, as Google is a profitable advertising broker that makes real money, not funny money.’
      • ‘The real money is at home and the real money is amongst the oil fields of the Middle East.’
      • ‘The Brits called it giving real people a real chance to win real money.’
      • ‘The girls end up with real money and they use it well by laughing at the tax man and the bigger mugs in society (you and me)?’
      • ‘We have put real money into health, we have put real money into education, and we have put real money into infrastructure.’
  • the real thing

    • informal A thing that is absolutely genuine or authentic.

      ‘you've never been in love before, so how can you be sure this is the real thing?’
      • ‘The fact is that he has never seen the real thing, and does his best to produce a substantial dish.’
      • ‘Having written a soundtrack for films that have never been made, it only made sense for him to take a crack at the real thing.’
      • ‘Would you feel as comfortable wearing a counterfeit expensive watch as the real thing?’
      • ‘We opted for the real thing and settled down for an evening of sea shanties and claustrophobia.’
      • ‘You can sample the real thing in any bar as joints are hung above the counter waiting to be sliced up into tapas.’

Origin

Late Middle English (as a legal term meaning ‘relating to things, especially real property’): from Anglo-Norman French, from late Latin realis, from Latin res ‘thing’.

Pronunciation

real

/riːl/

Main definitions of real in English

: real1real2

real2

Pronunciation /reɪˈɑːl//reɪˈal/

noun

  • 1The basic monetary unit of Brazil since 1994, equal to 100 centavos.

    • ‘Soon she was being paid 3,000 Brazilian reals a month to entertain spectators by ball-juggling during half-time.’
    • ‘Part of the money will be available for buying reals.’
    • ‘We've benefited in fact because a large percentage of our development costs are in Brazilian reals.’
    • ‘Plus, currencies in these markets have strengthened, meaning returns in Hungarian forints or Brazilian reals get a boost when rendered in dollars.’
    • ‘The real has stabilized at its June 2002 level of less than 3 reals to the dollar, and investors are once again looking south.’
    1. 1.1 A former coin and monetary unit of various Spanish-speaking countries.
      • ‘These coins were legal tender in the USA until 1857, as the young USA had few coins and many merchants preferred the Spanish Reals to USA coinage.’
      • ‘My senses were all confused as within my sight was a king's ransom - Spanish gold doubloons and shining silver reals, gold pieces of eight, old English milled gold guineas, crowns, minted silver shillings.’
      • ‘Silver minted as Spanish reals or dollars, and in the 19th century as Mexican dollars, reached Asia via the London silver market.’

Origin

Spanish, literally ‘royal’ (adjective used as a noun).

Pronunciation

real

/reɪˈɑːl//reɪˈal/