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[ree-uh-liz-uh m] /ˈri əˌlɪz əm/
interest in or concern for the actual or real, as distinguished from the abstract, speculative, etc.
the tendency to view or represent things as they really are.
Fine Arts.
  1. treatment of forms, colors, space, etc., in such a manner as to emphasize their correspondence to actuality or to ordinary visual experience.
    Compare idealism (def 4), naturalism (def 2).
  2. (usually initial capital letter) a style of painting and sculpture developed about the mid-19th century in which figures and scenes are depicted as they are experienced or might be experienced in everyday life.
  1. a manner of treating subject matter that presents a careful description of everyday life, usually of the lower and middle classes.
  2. a theory of writing in which the ordinary, familiar, or mundane aspects of life are represented in a straightforward or matter-of-fact manner that is presumed to reflect life as it actually is.
    Compare naturalism (def 1b).
  1. the doctrine that universals have a real objective existence.
  2. the doctrine that objects of sense perception have an existence independent of the act of perception.
    Compare idealism (def 5a).
Origin of realism
1810-20; real1 + -ism; compare French réalisme
Related forms
antirealism, noun
hyperrealism, noun
nonrealism, noun
overrealism, noun
prorealism, noun
ultrarealism, noun
unrealism, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for ultra-realism


awareness or acceptance of the physical universe, events, etc, as they are, as opposed to the abstract or ideal
awareness or acceptance of the facts and necessities of life; a practical rather than a moral or dogmatic view of things
a style of painting and sculpture that seeks to represent the familiar or typical in real life, rather than an idealized, formalized, or romantic interpretation of it
any similar school or style in other arts, esp literature
(philosophy) the thesis that general terms such as common nouns refer to entities that have a real existence separate from the individuals which fall under them See also universal (sense 11b) Compare Platonism, nominalism, conceptualism, naive realism
(philosophy) the theory that physical objects continue to exist whether they are perceived or not Compare idealism, phenomenalism
(logic, philosophy) the theory that the sense of a statement is given by a specification of its truth conditions, or that there is a reality independent of the speaker's conception of it that determines the truth or falsehood of every statement
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for ultra-realism



1794, from real (adj.) + -ism; after French réalisme or German Realismus; from Late Latin realis "real." Opposed to idealism in philosophy, art, etc. In reference to scholastic doctrine of Thomas Aquinas (opposed to nominalism) it is recorded from 1826. Meaning "close resemblance to the scene" (in art, literature, etc., often with reference to unpleasant details) is attested from 1856.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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ultra-realism in Culture

realism definition

An approach to philosophy that regards external objects as the most fundamentally real things, with perceptions or ideas as secondary. Realism is thus opposed to idealism. Materialism and naturalism are forms of realism. The term realism is also used to describe a movement in literature that attempts to portray life as it is.

realism definition

An attempt to make art and literature resemble life. Realist painters and writers take their subjects from the world around them (instead of from idealized subjects, such as figures in mythology or folklore) and try to represent them in a lifelike manner.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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