Definition of unreal in English:

unreal

adjective

  • 1Imaginary or illusory:

    ‘in the half-light the tiny cottages seemed unreal’
    • ‘In placing him as a real man in unreal circumstances, Mann enhances Ali's legend.’
    • ‘Before, thoughts of Angela seemed distant, unreal, like a hallucination or an imaginary tale.’
    • ‘It has a wonderful atmosphere about it, with larger-than-life characters and a slightly unreal, fantasy feel.’
    • ‘The intention was to evoke an unreal elsewhere, an imaginary place both freaky and familiar.’
    • ‘But all the clips make the stories look fantastical, unreal.’
    • ‘Technology has only recently been freed from the unreal fantasies that surrounded its discourse and the model put forth here attempts develop this emerging imagery.’
    • ‘The speed and flexibility which strategy software offers can also take the user into an unreal world where reality merges into fantasy.’
    • ‘It would be absurd to say that holes in socks are unreal and illusory just because the hole isn't made of anything and is purely an absence.’
    • ‘From the point of view of taxation, there is nothing unreal or imaginary about that.’
    • ‘Everything in Ilija's work is unreal and ahistorical, fantastic and imaginative.’
    • ‘There are no hard distinctions between what is real and what is unreal, nor between what is true and what is false.’
    • ‘What was always an improbable scenario, the Granita restaurant myth, has become a quite unreal fantasy.’
    • ‘Usually, Margaret is much too ‘smart’ to believe something so fantastical, so unreal.’
    • ‘Effects-wise, this is a stunning film, not content with conventional photography when there is a distinctly unreal feeling, seeing the camera pull right through glass and grating.’
    • ‘However, I also thought that at times he wandered off into a mist of hypothetical, unreal situations.’
    • ‘Being seven floors up, the ground looked unreal and the people were tiny little creatures of little importance.’
    • ‘The distant firefight, when it could be heard, sounded strangely unreal, almost as if someone had a piece of bubble wrap and had wrung it so that random bubbles popped and cracked.’
    • ‘Eventually the brief day begins to feel unreal, an illusory comfort for those who cannot take the unrelenting darkness.’
    • ‘The event took just ten minutes, and when it was the turn for the questions, Anne felt a weird sensation, everything was so unreal.’
    • ‘But I spent my adolescence in a country town, and from there, it's the city that's the unreal and very-far-away fantasyland.’
    imaginary, imagined, fictitious, pretend, make-believe, made-up, dreamed-up, non-existent, mock, false, invented, illusory, mythical, fanciful, fancied, fantastic, fabulous, legendary, chimerical, fairy-tale, phantasmagoric
    hypothetical, theoretical, ideal
    phoney
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1North American informal Incredible; amazing.
      • ‘‘It was unreal, absolutely terrifying,’ she says.’
      • ‘Approaching them, from the distance was a peculiar small man who ran with unreal speed.’
      • ‘Like so many young families juggling workplace demands, family commitments, unreal housing prices and rising home loan interest rates, the income she earned was welcome.’
      • ‘She was asked to come along and see her daughter receiving a First Aid Certificate and her surprise was unreal when she saw it was her party in full swing.’
      • ‘‘It would have been amazing to play there, completely unreal,’ added 25-year-old Bell.’
      • ‘Kids started to mosh and for a moment I thought this was unreal.’
      • ‘Jeremy said: ‘The amount of times we've read that we're Irish or out to save the world is unreal.’’
      • ‘Just to be there was unreal, but the stress was unbelievable.’
      • ‘To think that it came from my dad's shop is just unreal.’
      • ‘She said for the 10th time since I'd told her my extraordinary news, ‘This is just unreal.’’
      • ‘‘It was amazing when they called my name, I could hardly hear it, everyone was jumping out of the seats, it was unreal,’ she smiles.’
      • ‘‘He's so brave it's unreal,’ explained his mum, Heather.’
      • ‘The speed and strength of their attacks was phenomenal and bordered on unreal.’
      • ‘She felt it immediately; an unreal sensation, as though the ground had dropped from beneath her.’
      • ‘The tension in the room was unreal, but each individual sat wondering why a meeting should be called.’
      • ‘The speeds and turns were unreal, it was amazing.’
      extraordinary, exceptional, amazing, astonishing, astounding, marvellous, wonderful, sensational, stunning, incredible, unbelievable, miraculous, phenomenal, prodigious
      View synonyms
  • 2Unrealistic:

    ‘many people have unreal expectations of marriage’
    • ‘I mean, it is a little bit unreal if we have to pretend that family support is not a factor in these matters.’
    • ‘‘We work because we never had unreal expectations of what the band was supposed to be doing,’ says MacArthur.’
    • ‘Rushed consultation and planning inevitably lead to unreal expectations, delays in implementation, and failure to deliver planned benefits.’
    • ‘This was partly because of the unreal expectations that had been built up beforehand, and to which we in the media undoubtedly contributed.’
    • ‘The main problem is that most of the passion takes the form of rage - about the combination of ridiculous workload and unreal expectations.’
    • ‘Part of the problem with the parliament is, as commentator Iain McWhirter says, naive idealism and, after a 300-year break, unreal expectations.’
    • ‘Reality can't compete with unreal expectations.’
    • ‘As with Modern Maenad I found this incredibly written poorly with unreal, card board cut-out characters.’
    • ‘With Padmanabhan's keen sense of the telling detail in human situations, that theoretical world seems too unreal and far-fetched.’
    • ‘And Krissi is the perfect solution for people like me, who have unreal expectations about their capabilities.’
    • ‘"Of course, that denotes a very passionate nature, but one with unreal expectations of love.’
    • ‘More recent comments have drifted in the direction of the threat to social partnership being created by unreal pay expectations.’
    • ‘The result is the current dishonesty: an unreal discussion of danger that captivates the imagination of our population and most influential bodies and individuals.’
    • ‘By proclaiming that mothers are the best option for the children in every case, they are set up for unreal expectations.’
    • ‘Significantly, none of the reviews which complain of the film's complexity argue that the construction of the story is somehow unbelievable or unreal.’
    • ‘We think that they may have had an unreal expectation of the impact of the intervention in primary care, perhaps reflecting the absence of primary care researchers in the study team.’
    • ‘Now we demand that our celebrities shoulder that burden, saddling them with our hopes and the heavy weight of our often unreal expectations.’
    • ‘What worries me about the way this modest and thoughtful policy has been rolled out is the unreal expectations invested in it by politicians, and the ideological message in which it is wrapped.’
    • ‘And of course, it would be unreal to expect ‘real women’ willing to be featured in their bras and undies on billboards!’

Pronunciation

unreal

/ʌnˈrɪəl/