Date: 1400-1500
Language: Old French
Origin: Medieval Latin realis 'of things (in law)', from Latin res 'thing'


1 adjective
real1 S1 W1


something that is real exists and is important:
There is a real danger that the disease might spread.
We need to tackle the real problems of unemployment and poverty.
There is no real reason to worry.

not artificial

something that is real is actually what it seems to be and not false or artificial [≠ fake]:
a coat made of real fur
She had never seen a real live elephant before.
Artificial flowers can sometimes look better than the real thing.

not imaginary

something that is real actually exists and is not just imagined:
The children know that Santa Claus isn't a real person.
Dreams can sometimes seem very real.
Things don't happen quite that easily in real life.

the real world

used to talk about the difficult experience of living and working with other people, rather than being protected at home, at school, or at college:
the shock of leaving university and going out into the real world


[only before noun] actual and true, not invented:
That's not her real name.
What was the real reason you quit your job?


a real feeling or emotion is one that you actually experience and is strong [= genuine]:
There was a look of real hatred in her eyes.
I got a real sense of achievement when my work was first published.

right qualities

[only before noun] a real thing has all the qualities you expect something of that type to have:
I remember my first real job.
Simon was her first real boyfriend.
8 spoken

for emphasis

[only before noun] used to emphasize how stupid, beautiful, terrible etc someone or something is:
Thanks - you've been a real help.
The house was a real mess.
9 spoken

for real

seriously, not just pretending:
After two trial runs we did it for real.
10 spoken

are you for real?

American English used when you are very surprised or shocked by what someone has done or said
11 spoken

get real!

used to tell someone that they are being very silly or unreasonable
12 spoken

keep it real

to behave in an honest way and not pretend to be different from how you really are


[only before noun] a real increase or decrease in an amount of money is one you calculate by including the general decrease in the value of money over a period of time:
a real increase of 6% in average wages
The average value of salaries has fallen in real terms (=calculated in this way).

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