Definition of realm in US English:



archaic, literary
  • 1A kingdom.

    ‘the peers of the realm’
    ‘the defense of the realm’
    • ‘The defence of the realm, which is the Crown's first duty, is the paradigm of so grave a matter.’
    • ‘Because such a warranty belongs in the realm of the law of contract not tort.’
    • ‘The latter term would be reserved for actions relating to the armed forces and the defence of the realm.’
    • ‘The only avenue for a Norman legal order, common to the realm, was through a loyal judiciary.’
    • ‘Along it, empires, kingdoms, and colonial realms have been plunged into war and bloodshed.’
    kingdom, sovereign state, monarchy
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    1. 1.1 A field or domain of activity or interest.
      ‘the realm of applied chemistry’
      • ‘I know that that will not occur; it is beyond the realms of possibility.’
      • ‘Is this beyond the realms of possibility given the government's action in the last few weeks?’
      • ‘Miriam thought it was unlikely to be sold as a residential property but it was not beyond the realms of possibility.’
      • ‘To use them to catch foxes is something that is certainly not beyond the realms of possibility,’ he said.’
      • ‘We have truly entered the realms of the bizarre.’
      • ‘But for the first time for ages it didn't seem beyond the realms of possibility.’
      • ‘The matter was however even to him, well within the realms of abstruse cyclone theory.’
      • ‘Therefore, do not consider even bothering to try asking for any help as it is completely beyond the realms of possibility that you will be able to find a helpful face in the entire store.’
      • ‘This does postulate quite a large realm of immunity to the doctors and the social workers.’
      • ‘We will come to that in the later arguments but this is all in the realm of the unwritten law.’
      • ‘The use of torture to elicit information is not beyond the realm of possibility.’
      • ‘So, we are talking at this stage entirely in the realms of the hypothetical?’
      • ‘As yet there is no release date, and while having the first showing in Skipton is not beyond the realms of possibility, it remains a hope.’
      • ‘It's once you leave the conceptual realm and enter the realm of execution that things get messy.’
      • ‘It was not beyond the realms of possibility that New Zealand could have beaten Australia and qualified for Athens.’
      • ‘In fact, we are now in the realm of complex payment, where payment is in a foreign currency and there is a string of banks.’
      • ‘An upset today is hardly beyond the realms of possibility.’
      • ‘Yes councillor, it is not beyond the realms of possibility for councillors, highways, and bus company management to sort out some solution.’
      • ‘Behind the scenes negotiations mean there is no move that is beyond the realms of possibility.’
      • ‘One might then be closer to the realm of saying that one is interfering with the procedures that apply.’
      domain, sphere, area, field, department, arena
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    2. 1.2Zoology A primary biogeographical division of the earth's surface.
      • ‘The Ordovician faunas described herein represent both the Midcontinent and Atlantic faunal realms.’
      • ‘This section is highlighted by excellent summaries of the major biogeographic realms and their endemic faunas.’
      • ‘The gyre we planned to survey is one of the largest ocean realms on Earth, and one of five major subtropical gyres on the planet.’
      • ‘The species are representative of both the Midcontinent and Atlantic faunal realms, but dominantly the former.’
      • ‘There are so many species unique to Australia that, along with New Guinea, Australia forms one of the world's greatest zoogeographic realms.’


Middle English rewme, from Old French reaume, from Latin regimen ‘government’ (see regimen). The spelling with -l- (standard from c 1600) was influenced by Old French reiel ‘royal’.