Definition of reality in US English:

reality

noun

  • 1The world or the state of things as they actually exist, as opposed to an idealistic or notional idea of them.

    ‘he refuses to face reality’
    ‘Laura was losing touch with reality’
    • ‘It happens in stock markets when they lose touch with reality.’
    • ‘Will a love of knowledge and the written word lead to me lose touch with reality and normal society and decide that there is no longer any need for me to wash?’
    • ‘In reality Maddy had no idea if he'd actually slept with her, but it wasn't her business to ask or even know.’
    • ‘It was clear to me that I would soon lose touch with reality unless I did something that mattered.’
    • ‘It is so easy for prime ministers to lose touch with reality.’
    • ‘The above is one development of the idea that reality is socially constructed.’
    • ‘It has kept all of us in touch with reality as it exists in Tokyo and Japan along with a better understanding of what Tokyo and Japan are all about.’
    • ‘Although it sounds glamorous and fun, Caldwell says there is a danger you can lose touch with reality.’
    • ‘Such details spice up the account of a wartime dictator losing touch with reality.’
    • ‘She said that the students are slowly losing touch with reality.’
    • ‘In a play that makes play with ideas about art and reality, one of the more stimulating paradoxes occurred offstage.’
    • ‘No other nation has ever been quite so obsessed by defining what it is, or troubled by the idea that reality might not measure up to the ideal.’
    • ‘Recognition and acceptance of truth and reality replaces false ideas.’
    • ‘You see, a long time ago, some academic came up with the idea that reality doesn't actually exist.’
    • ‘I started perceiving the world in terms of wishes as opposed to reality.’
    • ‘For many though, the idea of getting beyond reality is not such a scary prospect.’
    • ‘Unfortunately though, this only seems to be a good idea, instead of reality.’
    • ‘But this new theology is vulnerable because it has long since lost any touch with reality.’
    • ‘But for him, history was still the history of ideas, reality was secondary.’
    • ‘One of our biggest problems is perception as opposed to reality.’
    the real world, real life, actuality
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A thing that is actually experienced or seen, especially when this is grim or problematic.
      ‘the harsh realities of life in a farming community’
      ‘the law ignores the reality of the situation’
      • ‘The reality of her mother dying sank in deep as she saw the look of fear in her mother's eyes.’
      • ‘The above point reflects a deep tendency in Western societies to deny the reality of life as a biological reality.’
      • ‘No one on this campus wants to diminish the reality of the horrible experience of sexual assault.’
      • ‘The reality of this truth was manifested at the last election.’
      • ‘None has been so determined to finesse the difficult realities of the post-cold war world.’
      • ‘When faced with the reality of these experiences, part of the problem is doubt as to whether they are real or imagined.’
      • ‘The reality of the child's early experience may or may not be known.’
      • ‘I have no problem with teaching our children the realities of life and war in the past.’
      • ‘It is clear that that may be difficult to enforce against the realities of everyday domestic life.’
      • ‘We have met before and the reality of personal experience is very different.’
      • ‘Some of these children have their own first-hand experience of the realities of war.’
      • ‘I had been invited to experience the reality of front line policing in the town by joining the Swindon response team for the night.’
      • ‘The reality of motherhood is trainers, a fleece, a worry list and a mobile phone.’
      • ‘Soon experience told them to look at the realities of life and how the laws of nature work.’
      • ‘This is part of the reality of women's experience in today's Ireland.’
      • ‘When a big issue is on, do we want someone who might be prepared to fudge the realities of truth in order to meet his or her own ends?’
      • ‘But when image is your concern, the unpleasant realities of war present big problems.’
      • ‘This language is so personal that the reader cannot be drawn to the reality of the experience.’
      • ‘Anywhere outside you will experience the reality of traffic going forwards - in quantity, at speed.’
      • ‘It wants to make sure it cannot actually focus on the realities of family life.’
      fact, actuality, truth, verity
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 A thing that exists in fact, having previously only existed in one's mind.
      ‘the paperless office may yet become a reality’
      • ‘A disagreement in private is a division in theory - once exposed in public it becomes a reality, a fact to which others are compelled to respond.’
      • ‘This fear thankfully has not become a reality, in fact trade in this area is up.’
      • ‘The legislation to make co-housing a reality in Sydney already exists in the form of the Community Titles Act.’
      • ‘But it took nearly thirty years to make that dream a reality.’
      • ‘Lia shivered at the chill in the air and at the fact that her dream might become a reality.’
      • ‘Economic unification is still a dream, not a reality.’
      • ‘Champagne wishes and caviar dreams became a reality onboard the Concorde.’
      • ‘To date, broadband is rolling out faster in Ireland than in any other country in Europe, so perhaps this dream could become a reality.’
      • ‘However, many barriers exist for exotic dancers to make their dreams a reality.’
      • ‘You guys have turned an old man's dream into a reality; in fact, you've made history.’
      • ‘Thomas Watson's dream became a reality when he bestowed a magnificent gift on the town by giving Howard House to be site for the new hospital.’
      • ‘Iran were safely accounted for and the dream became a reality.’
      • ‘Both men also had a special word of gratitude for all those who willingly gave so much of their free time over the years to help the complex dream to become a reality.’
      • ‘When we were Middlesex teammates, he vowed that he wanted to play for England, and he was ready to listen, learn and put in the hard work to turn his dreams into a reality.’
      • ‘THE UK is a nation of aspiring entrepreneurs, but nearly half have no clue as to how to make their dream a reality, according to research.’
      • ‘Young skaters in Solva had also worked hard to try to make their dream a reality, raising over £5,000 to help finance the scheme.’
      • ‘She had always wanted to be a nurse and turned her childhood dream into a reality when she signed up for nurse training at Leicester Hospital 13 years ago.’
      • ‘You strive to make the ideal in your mind become a reality on the canvas of Time.’
      • ‘But a York research team is at the forefront of a project which aims to make this previously far-fetched dream a reality.’
      • ‘It was left to the Bentham community to raise a further £10,000 in matched funding to prove its commitment and make the dream a reality.’
    3. 1.3 The quality of being lifelike or resembling an original.
      ‘the reality of Marryat's detail’
      • ‘All of that combines to work against the sense of immersion and reality created by the graphics and large gameworld.’
      • ‘He loved acting and the people that were in it and that could produce and create moments of great reality.’
      • ‘Only when films regain the sparks of creativity, originality and reality, will we see crowds in cinema halls again.’
      • ‘Harsh reality is created with striking clarity throughout the collection, leaving the reader both awed and dismayed.’
      verisimilitude, authenticity, realism, fidelity, faithfulness
      View synonyms
    4. 1.4as modifier Relating to reality TV.
      ‘a reality show’
      • ‘The irony is that a reality television programme made headlines for becoming just a little too real, a little too authentic.’
      • ‘This is the original reality television; people are being killed, young men are putting their lives at risk to defend what they believe in.’
      • ‘I am sure it will prove to be another one of the more quality reality shows out there.’
      • ‘Channel Five's reality television extravaganza is back on our telly screens.’
      • ‘Would you watch a reality television show based around a celebrity footballer?’
      • ‘That is very different from reality television or commercial porn sites, where the machines are owned and steered by a company.’
      • ‘If networks run out of ideas for reality shows before the viewers get sick of them, then they'll return to a scripted program format.’
      • ‘Within the reality television genre itself, new strains and amalgamations have emerged.’
      • ‘It is no use complaining about reality television on the grounds that it's too real.’
      • ‘Bear in mind, though, that premium rate numbers are also used legitimately for chat lines and for voting on some popular reality television shows.’
      • ‘Think of all the reality television shows where most confrontations are between the men.’
      • ‘But this is no gameshow - this is not gratuitous reality television.’
      • ‘But it is this producer who takes the programme beyond the usual reality television dross.’
      • ‘Walsh is determined to distance the group from its reality TV-based roots.’
      • ‘This is real reality television, because it could actually really happen to you!’
      • ‘It only goes to show how wrong your perceptions can be, even given all the advantages of the reality television format.’
      • ‘The show explores the 15 minutes of fame bestowed on the participants of reality television.’
      • ‘And they said, how would you like to host the first reality television program?’
      • ‘There can be no doubt that the reality television format is producing increased corporate earnings.’
      • ‘Unlike more infamous reality television programming, there are no contests to play, no prizes to be won.’
  • 2The state or quality of having existence or substance.

    ‘youth, when death has no reality’
    • ‘Kunzru is unable to give his India any sense of substance or reality, trading instead in cliché and stereotype.’
    • ‘All these elements help hide the very manufactured TV show, which seems to lack any substance of reality.’
    • ‘One cannot ignore the enormous influence of advertising and media in creating reality in this era.’
    • ‘In both films, there is the savage horror of brief, brutal bursts of carnage; the quivering fear of death; the grim reality of war.’
    • ‘I know, because I've witnessed the stunning reality of daily existence in the North.’
    • ‘There is a quality of immediacy and reality in what writing is taken to be.’
    • ‘It purifies our thoughts that we might know that God is the Source and Substance of all reality.’
    • ‘This is the premise upon which the revenue claim the high ground of substance and reality.’
    • ‘It is a hollow, empty show, utterly devoid of substance and reality.’
    • ‘Rather it will remain as an empty shell of formal jurisdiction, without any substantive reality.’
    • ‘This statement on creating emotional reality affords me the opportunity I've been looking for.’
    • ‘One of them is childhood sexuality; another is recognition of the physical reality of death.’
    • ‘However what will be decisive will be the substance and reality of the language creating the offence rather than its form.’
    • ‘It's when we pretend that the mirage is reality that we create a dangerous situation, one that everyone knows is there but no one will talk about.’
    • ‘Is there reality without observation, existence without consciousness?’
    • ‘It was emphasised once again that it was the function of the courts to determine the true nature of the substance and reality of the transaction.’
    • ‘A film is a highly manipulative exercise using sound, image and time to create the illusion of reality.’
    • ‘Not only that, the filmmakers created a provocative action film that ponders the essence of reality and identity.’
    • ‘In those cases the House in effect decided that the substance or reality of the composite transactions was to be considered free of any artificial steps.’
    • ‘When survivor stories are told, history moves from mythic quality to reality.’
    1. 2.1Philosophy Existence that is absolute, self-sufficient, or objective, and not subject to human decisions or conventions.
      • ‘Language for these philosophers is not a transparent window into a universal, objective reality.’
      • ‘No, I'm saying there is no ultimate reality, no objective existence, no ontology at all.’
      • ‘It is again the same end effect, but the perspective is fundamentally different as it is based upon a subjective rather than objective reality.’
      • ‘We accept a parallel subordination of subjective appearance to objective reality in other areas.’
      • ‘It appears to suggest that some kind of moral objective reality is necessary for ethical functioning.’

Phrases

  • in reality

    • In actual fact (used to contrast a false idea of what is true or possible with one that is more accurate)

      ‘she had believed she could control these feelings, but in reality that was not so easy’
      • ‘In fact, in reality, the cottage's location turned out to be even better than that!’
      • ‘We like to think our media are free, but in reality they often dance to another's tune.’
      • ‘Everyone has their fantasies but in reality very few men actually fulfill them.’
      • ‘While this might appear to be a dispute about a material fact, in reality it is not.’
      • ‘He may be amused by the idea but in reality it would never suit a man with such unabashed ambition.’
      • ‘Interest rates appear to be more affordable than at any previous time, but in reality they are very high.’
      • ‘Initially they may seem excellent to admire but, in reality, some can be of very dubious quality.’
      • ‘It is tempting to suggest nothing has changed, but in reality everything has.’
      • ‘I appreciate that many people go to the movies to escape reality, but in reality there is no escape.’
      • ‘They seem so remote, although in reality civilisation is never very far away.’
      in fact, in actual fact, in point of fact, as a matter of fact, actually, really, in truth, if truth be told
      View synonyms
  • the reality is —

    • Used to assert that the truth of a matter is not what one would think or expect.

      ‘the popular view of the Dobermann is of an aggressive guard dog—the reality is very different’
      • ‘We should not be giving special treatment to someone purely on the strength of their spending power but the reality is that we have to.’
      • ‘On the other hand, the reality is that Japan simply cannot afford such an expensive gamble.’
      • ‘Well, the reality is if you are an experienced buyer you will always get what you want at a competitive price.’
      • ‘But the system is far from fallible and the reality is somewhat disgusting.’
      • ‘But the reality is that in a competitive world people seek out the brands.’
      • ‘It does not matter when it was; the reality is that that was what was in place.’
      • ‘Some people expect it to be dynamic and aggressive but the reality is that it's slow.’
      • ‘Maybe people are suspicious of me, but the reality is that I'm spending most of my time looking at how we make the club game work.’
      • ‘Three and a half years after the promises, the reality is that one in nine people now work more than 60 hours every week.’
      • ‘While everyone in the policy world is talking about the rising problem of racism, the reality is almost the opposite.’

Origin

Late 15th century: via French from medieval Latin realitas, from late Latin realis ‘relating to things’ (see real).

Pronunciation

reality

/rēˈalədē//riˈælədi/