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’
    • ‘He was awed with the fact that they were real, but realized that she needed help quickly.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘In fact, the only real effect of his advancing age on his music has been to make him work with even greater concentration.’
    • ‘He could hear an odd rushing sound, but he couldn't tell if it was real or imagined.’
    • ‘I don't think I've ever had to work under any real pressure, either real or imagined.’
    • ‘I suppose real macaroni pie uses this kind, but I was never able to find it in the United States.’
    • ‘The only real difference I suppose is that the Russians had longer to prepare.’
    • ‘Why do you attack them without bothering to do any real investigation of the situation?’
    • ‘Young Miller was, in fact, the only real striking prospect Scotland had seen in some time.’
    • ‘The scene from the bank ‘falsely portrayed’ is in fact an accurate portrayal of real events.’
    • ‘The real problem was the fact that no intelligent debate on organised crime had taken place, he said.’
    • ‘It seems far-fetched but most of the things that happened in the first series were actually based on real events.’
    • ‘That could affect their opinion before they hear the facts in a real trial.’
    • ‘The first setup reflects the situation in which a real data set is under scrutiny.’
    • ‘They make a big point on their site of assuring the viewer that the tank is in fact, not real.’
    • ‘In this decision, I am not jettisoning all case law developed by judicial decision on the facts of real cases.’
    • ‘A problem does not exist in splendid isolation as a concrete fact in the real world.’
    • ‘Sometimes I do this thing where I imagine that I'm reporting the events that aren't real.’
    • ‘It is also the most imaginative, least dated, and actually has some real Gaelic.’
    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’
      • ‘In fact, there are real questions about the viability and sustainability of this project.’
      • ‘What he had to say will have real significance for the future of the devolution experiment.’
      • ‘Making their job a real chore is the fact that he keeps showing up in Trish's shadow, so smitten is he.’
      • ‘I think there is a very real possibility, however, that you are an idiot.’
      • ‘I imagine he's having real trouble with the up-keep of his sprawling country estate at the moment.’
      • ‘Lord Cooke said that the label nuisance or negligence was of no real significance.’
      • ‘In this film, I play a biker out to woo someone, which is indeed a very real situation for me.’
      • ‘If we fail to do so, we will inevitably fail to gauge the real significance of the changes which are occurring.’
      • ‘It is especially true for America, as well, because we are a country with very real isolationist tendencies.’
      • ‘The label nuisance or negligence is treated as being of no real significance.’
      • ‘There were only two or three companies with any real significance trying to tap into the same market.’
      • ‘Mr Shean felt that there were very real dangers in this situation with a fragmenting relationship.’
      • ‘Naturally, there are real and significant human costs of modernisation.’
      • ‘It is important to emphasize the real differences which exist between them.’
      • ‘There is real concern that the situation in Darfur could derail the north-south peace deal.’
      • ‘The word may eventually cease to have any real significance, except in a historical context.’
      • ‘We may think that in these passages there is no real distancing; what Socrates says is just what Plato thinks.’
      • ‘Strangely I'm proud to be where I'm from but I'd have a real problem defining British.’
      • ‘But this applies only where the court is left in real doubt about the true meaning.’
      • ‘When is something going to be done about this very real and sad situation?’
      • ‘The chances of a stock overhang negatively skewing the UK market good and proper are very real.’
    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’
      • ‘Phenomenology involves a radical change in all such positings of real existence.’
      • ‘Only knowledge of real essence, which we don't have and are unlikely to get, would provide that.’
      • ‘Most generally, Locke had argued famously that real essences are unknowable.’
      • ‘By formal essence Spinoza means the real and independent nature of God.’
      • ‘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’
    • ‘Trying to find anything up there is like trying to guess my 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.’
    • ‘A quick bite of the card was taken just to check just how real the gold was.’
    • ‘Try it, however, and a uniformed attendant will inform you it is art and that it is plated in real gold.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I was a bit disappointed that he had questioned whether my hair was real.’
    • ‘This lightly scented gel contains particles of real gold to enhance the face or décolletage.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Is that his real hair colour?’
    • ‘The Buddha sculptures and even the bricks on the ground are carved with real gold.’
    • ‘In the past they've also had genuine stag and real ivory, both of which are now very hard to come by.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He realised that the answer to his business problems was to provide machines that made real coffee with fresh milk.’
    • ‘She slipped a tiny elastic banding ring over the long metal pin which connects my real leg to the artificial one.’
    sincere, genuine, true, unfeigned, unpretended, heartfelt, from the heart, unaffected, earnest, wholehearted, fervent, honest, truthful
    genuine, authentic, bona fide, pukka
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1 True or actual:
      ‘his real name is James’
      ‘this isn't my real reason for coming’
      • ‘It seems that the state and central governments have been hiding the real facts.’
      • ‘Now, in all fairness - we have not verified that this post was in fact penned by the real Miss Simpson.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘If we take all of these criticisms as true, then the real blame belongs to the White House.’
      • ‘This view has taken hold even despite the fact that the real dynamic of progress is currently unremarkable.’
      • ‘I hope I can show and tell you the real, true Japan that cannot be seen in other mas media.’
      • ‘The fact that real terrorists tend not to send letters before they plant bombs seemed not to occur to officials.’
      • ‘The real significance of publications such as this are often only really treasured years later.’
      • ‘Yes, it was a thoroughly enjoyable and fun night and real stars did in fact emerge.’
      • ‘I suppose the real test is what happens over the next few months and how we keep the friendship going.’
      • ‘But the point is that it is true, and the real question is the character of the candidate who tried to conceal his past.’
      • ‘The real glory was the fact that most of the postings were not from members.’
      • ‘Jeff takes them to the ruined house where the last lot disappeared and where the real witch was supposed to have been murdered.’
      • ‘In fact, submerging your real identity even as you fake sincerity seems to be positively encouraged.’
      • ‘Rather than trying to sue Americans into submission, imagine a real solution for the problem.’
      • ‘It has come out of the real situation that I see around me, where marriages are failing.’
      • ‘The person sitting in front of the fire was shocked that the facts of the real story had been so misconstrued.’
      • ‘In fact, the real shift that is taking place is very different from this.’
      • ‘This is true, but the real crisis in legitimacy is caused by differential abstention rates.’
      true, actual
      View synonyms
    2. 2.2[attributive] Rightly so called; proper:
      ‘he's my idea of a real man’
      • ‘If you take June as your real friend, then you shouldn't say that about her!’
      • ‘Little did I realize that this first political activity would lead me to a life of devotion to true justice and real freedom.’
      • ‘Living this way is a good way to determine who your real friends are.’
      • ‘Everyone will be thinking about what type of real man uses something artificial to get a tan.’
      • ‘If war is when leaders discover themselves, it is also when parties discover who, in fact, their real leaders are.’
      • ‘Or if you want to be a real friend invite them along now for the ride.’
      • ‘If you don't want to tell an adult, you can tell a friend - but my real advice is to just chill.’
      • ‘This is the beginning of the real and true economics of information.’
      • ‘So there is no real tension on the facts of this case between the judges of the Family Court on that issue.’
      • ‘The only real anti-climax is the fact that it is all over way too soon.’
      • ‘One critic has rightly described them as our real National Theatre.’
      • ‘All agreed he is a true genius and a real perfectionist with timing and sound.’
      • ‘There was in fact no real commitment from the Account Holder at all.’
      • ‘It's so nice to be at a proper keyboard with a real mouse instead of those stupid touch pad things.’
      • ‘The theory that there are no real enemies and friends in the film world, as in politics, is highlighted.’
      • ‘And now he says he wants everyone to know who their real friends and enemies were.’
      • ‘In fact, a real network culture developed only in the 1840s and this is studied by Caron in the second part of his book.’
      • ‘He dared to be honest and have integrity and do what a real journalist is supposed to do.’
      • ‘Back in the days between leaving college and finding a real job, my friends and I drank like the proverbial fishes.’
      • ‘My day here has been a complete waste of time, as it is most days in fact - a real waste of petrol.’
      proper, true, rightly so called
      View synonyms
  • 3informal [attributive] Complete; utter (used for emphasis):

    ‘the tour turned out to be a real disaster’
    • ‘I think most people in this country see it's beginning to be a real disaster.’
    • ‘If they don't take on the role of guardians there is going to be a real disaster.’
    • ‘He remembers his time there with real fondness and thoroughly enjoyed the experience.’
    • ‘So their reactions were similar to what would be found at the scene of a real disaster.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The chassis inspires real confidence, feels perfectly balanced and even gets better as you push it harder.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The latest result betrays a real inferiority complex within the Irish mindset.’
    • ‘You'd never forget as you go through the film what real disaster has happened here.’
    • ‘Yet the real disaster will be if Pyongyang continues on its present road to nowhere.’
    • ‘What happened next, he explains could lead to a real disaster in the future.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It was a perfect day, a real community occasion, and one which will long be remembered by everyone.’
    complete, utter, thorough, absolute, total, prize, perfect, veritable
    View synonyms
  • 4[attributive] 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’
    • ‘Figures suggest that the minimum amount of money needed for subsistence is on the rise in real terms.’
    • ‘By the end of the decade, inflation had halved the real value of football payments.’
    • ‘We will maintain the value of welfare benefits in real terms plus economic growth - no more.’
    • ‘A consultant needs to add real value to an organisation to justify a fee of hundreds a day.’
    • ‘Funding for education is set to rise in real terms, over and above extra money for teachers' salary pay increases.’
    • ‘But high population growth means that this is a contraction in real terms.’
    • ‘So today's prices are, in real terms, at little more than half their highest levels.’
    • ‘Besides, the real value for money lies in the fact that paying a few pence more benefits so many.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It only underscores my point that the real value of the Rand should be in that region.’
    • ‘In real terms, the study shows that household incomes have declined to 1989 levels.’
    • ‘Duisenberg did not comment on how much the prices increased in real terms.’
    • ‘This sounds a lot of money, but in real terms it will support just eight schemes.’
    • ‘Only by demanding more cash balances and thus lowering prices can the dollars assume a higher real value.’
    • ‘Inflation also eats into the real value of the income from market returns received by farmers.’
    • ‘If that real value isn't there, then you should look at ways to introduce it or you shouldn't be there at all.’
    • ‘The cost of housing will fall in real terms if the CPI exceeds the rate of house price inflation.’
    • ‘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.’
  • 5Mathematics
    (of a number or quantity) having no imaginary part.

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

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘We saw in the last section that a real image is formed by light moving through a convex lens.’
    • ‘Real images occur when objects are placed outside the focal length of a converging lens or outside the focal length of a converging mirror.’
    • ‘It is easiest to observe real images when projected on an opaque screen.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘All I know is my head hurt real bad during that time and then it was gone after a while.’
    • ‘We actually work in a room with no windows, but we decorated it real nice for Christmas.’
    • ‘For a while, his brain was swollen so he hung his head like someone with a real bad headache.’
    • ‘It has been too warm lately and with long hair the dog gets real warm.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘If you take a picture, it just happens to look real nice if you show a little more than two thirds sky.’
    • ‘He had a real homely and jolly down to earth manner that endeared him to all.’
    • ‘Whilst on the subject of friends I have met some real nice and interesting people in my few months here.’
    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!’
      • ‘If this is the real world, away from all the carnage and desolation, than this cannot be for real.’
      • ‘It's not happening for real so it simply becomes a question of whether or not you believe it has narrative utility.’
      • ‘Well, I have understood it partly, but one thing I knew for sure, this guy is for real and he is world class.’
      • ‘People have got used to hearing sterile music, but we do it for real.’
      • ‘It almost sends a frisson of fear down one's spine as if it were all for real.’
      • ‘By the time the concert began for real I was already sick of hearing the overture's opening bars.’
      • ‘Someone wondered if all the questions on the page were for real, or if I made any up.’
      • ‘It didn't work until I saw it for real, then hearing it worked.’
      • ‘You get so used to seeing them on the news, I suppose, that seeing them for real doesn't come as a surprise.’
      • ‘Do you want this guy for real, or are you just looking for great taste, less filling?’
      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?’
        • ‘I closed the door behind him, not completely sure if he was joking or if he was for real.’
        • ‘They mostly try to pull it off with a straight face, and play everything for real.’
        • ‘By the time you hear the raver's whistle, you have to ask yourself if the Brothers are for real.’
        • ‘Is This Guy For Real? This Republican candidate has a slim chance of making it to the White House.’
        • ‘Is that little guy for real? Does he say where he gets his energy from, or is it part of a act?’
        • ‘Will could only muster up a blank stare at this point, wondering if she was 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.’
      • ‘‘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!’’
      • ‘The opposition need to get real on the issue of social mobility.’
  • 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’
      • ‘He had the advantage of hearing some actual real live witnesses, I gather?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Have I ever shared with you my actual fear of real live trains?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘I believe this is where real live performers steal the show.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Their problems are more complicated than hunger or lack of shelter, and that means they need real live people helping them out.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The fire alarm went off, and we thought it was a real live fire.’
  • real money

    • informal A significant amount of money:

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

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

noun

"( plural reais or reals ) "
  • 1The basic monetary unit of Brazil since 1994, equal to 100 centavos.

    • ‘Plus, currencies in these markets have strengthened, meaning returns in Hungarian forints or Brazilian reals get a boost when rendered in dollars.’
    • ‘We've benefited in fact because a large percentage of our development costs are in Brazilian reals.’
    • ‘Part of the money will be available for buying reals.’
    • ‘The real has stabilized at its June 2002 level of less than 3 reals to the dollar, and investors are once again looking south.’
    • ‘Soon she was being paid 3,000 Brazilian reals a month to entertain spectators by ball-juggling during half-time.’
    1. 1.1"( plural reals ) " A former coin and monetary unit of various Spanish-speaking countries.
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’

Origin

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

Pronunciation:

real

/reɪˈɑːl//reɪˈal/