There are 2 main definitions of real in English:


Syllabification: re·al
Pronunciation: /ˈrē(ə)l


1Actually existing as a thing or occurring in fact; not imagined or supposed: Julius Caesar was a real person a story drawing on real events her many illnesses, real and imaginary
More example sentences
  • It seems far-fetched but most of the things that happened in the first series were actually based on real events.
  • 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.
actual, nonfictional, factual, real-life;
1.1Used to emphasize the significance or seriousness of a situation or circumstance: there is a real danger of civil war the competitive threat from overseas is very real
More example sentences
  • Mr Shean felt that there were very real dangers in this situation with a fragmenting relationship.
  • 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.
1.2 Philosophy Relating to something as it is, not merely as it may be described or distinguished.
More example sentences
  • By formal essence Spinoza means the real and independent nature of God.
  • 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.
2(Of a substance or thing) not imitation or artificial; genuine: the earring was presumably real gold
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • She slipped a tiny elastic banding ring over the long metal pin which connects my real leg to the artificial one.
2.1True or actual: his real name is James this isn’t my real reason for coming
More example sentences
  • If we take all of these criticisms as true, then the real blame belongs to the White House.
  • But the point is that it is true, and the real question is the character of the candidate who tried to conceal his past.
  • This is true, but the real crisis in legitimacy is caused by differential abstention rates.
2.2 [attributive] (Of a person or thing) rightly so called; proper: he’s my idea of a real man Jamie is my only real friend
More example sentences
  • It's so nice to be at a proper keyboard with a real mouse instead of those stupid touch pad things.
  • If you take June as your real friend, then you shouldn't say that about her!
  • Or if you want to be a real friend invite them along now for the ride.
proper, true
informal regular
3 [attributive] informal Complete; utter (used for emphasis): the tour turned out to be a real disaster
More example sentences
  • What happened next, he explains could lead to a real disaster in the future.
  • Most Zambian roads and what are called bridges especially in rural areas, are a real disaster.
  • Yet the real disaster will be if Pyongyang continues on its present road to nowhere.
4 [attributive] Adjusted for changes in the value of money; assessed by purchasing power: real incomes had fallen by 30 percent an increase in real terms of 11.6 percent
More example sentences
  • We will maintain the value of welfare benefits in real terms plus economic growth - no more.
  • Inflation also eats into the real value of the income from market returns received by farmers.
  • This sounds a lot of money, but in real terms it will support just eight schemes.
5 Law Of fixed property (i.e., land and buildings), as distinct from personal property: he lost nearly all of his real holdings
More example sentences
  • It has not mattered, for these purposes, whether the security was over real or personal property.
  • The distinction between real and personal property is an ancient one and is still of importance today.
  • Real property also includes many legal relationships between individuals or owners of land that are purely conceptual.
6 Mathematics (Of a number or quantity) having no imaginary part. See imaginary.
More example sentences
  • In this case, this is not a problem, since the domain of the sine function is all real numbers.
  • 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.
7 Optics (Of an image) of a kind in which the light that forms it actually passes through it; not virtual.
More example sentences
  • We saw in the last section that a real image is formed by light moving through a convex lens.
  • You don't see the real image formed by the camera lens, but you get a rough idea of what is in view.
  • 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.


[as submodifier] informal , chiefly North American Back to top  
Really; very: my head hurts real bad
More example sentences
  • All I know is my head hurt real bad during that time and then it was gone after a while.
  • If you take a picture, it just happens to look real nice if you show a little more than two thirds sky.
  • We actually work in a room with no windows, but we decorated it real nice for Christmas.


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'.


for real

informal Used to assert that something is genuine or is actually the case: I’m not playing games—this is for real!
More example sentences
  • It didn't work until I saw it for real, then hearing it worked.
  • Do you want this guy for real, or are you just looking for great taste, less filling?
  • Well, I have understood it partly, but one thing I knew for sure, this guy is for real and he is world class.
North 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?
More example sentences
  • By the time you hear the raver's whistle, you have to ask yourself if the Brothers are for real.
  • They mostly try to pull it off with a straight face, and play everything for real.
  • I closed the door behind him, not completely sure if he was joking or if he was for real.

get real!

informal , chiefly North American Used to convey that an idea or statement is foolish or overly idealistic: You want teens to have committed sexual relationships? Get real!
More example sentences
  • ‘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!’
  • 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!’
  • The opposition need to get real on the issue of social mobility.

real live

humorous Used to emphasize the existence of something, especially if it is surprising or unusual: a real live detective had been at the factory
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Have I ever shared with you my actual fear of real live trains?

real money

informal Money in a large or significant amount.
More example sentences
  • That's hardly fair, as Google is a profitable advertising broker that makes real money, not funny money.
  • Yet, as anyone who has ever changed money here knows, real money gets quite a scrutiny before it is accepted and changed.
  • While the tourist trade is always welcome, the real money is in exports.

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?
More example sentences
  • Would you feel as comfortable wearing a counterfeit expensive watch as the real thing?
  • The fact is that he has never seen the real thing, and does his best to produce a substantial dish.
  • You can sample the real thing in any bar as joints are hung above the counter waiting to be sliced up into tapas.



More example sentences
  • As much as I want you and want to be with you and part of you, I can't tear myself away from the realness of my responsibilities.
  • They have all used pianos to express their melancholy and realness.
  • I care about passion and talent, not authenticity, and while Mr. Stewart clearly has an excess of the former, he's eschewing a wee too much of the latter in search of that vaunted realness.

Definition of real in:

There are 2 main definitions of real in English:


Syllabification: re·al
Pronunciation: /rāˈäl

noun (plural reais , rāˈīs/ or reals)

1The basic monetary unit of Brazil since 1994, equal to 100 centavos.
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • Soon she was being paid 3,000 Brazilian reals a month to entertain spectators by ball-juggling during half-time.
1.1 (plural reals) A former coin and monetary unit of various Spanish-speaking countries.
More example sentences
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Silver minted as Spanish reals or dollars, and in the 19th century as Mexican dollars, reached Asia via the London silver market.


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

Definition of real in: