[ ree-uh l, reel ]
/ ˈri əl, ril /



Informal. very or extremely: You did a real nice job painting the house.


the real,
  1. something that actually exists, as a particular quantity.
  2. reality in general.

Nearby words

  1. reagan, ronald wilson,
  2. reaganomics,
  3. reagent,
  4. reagin,
  5. reaginic antibody,
  6. real ale,
  7. real axis,
  8. real cost,
  9. real estate,
  10. real income


    for real, Informal.
    1. in reality; actually: You mean she dyed her hair green for real?
    2. real; actual: The company's plans to relocate are for real.
    3. genuine; sincere: I don't believe his friendly attitude is for real.

Origin of real

1400–50; late Middle English < Late Latin reālis, equivalent to Latin re-, variant stem of rēs thing + -ālis -al1

Related formsre·al·ness, noun

Synonym study

1–5. Real, actual, true in general use describe objects, persons, experiences, etc., that are what they are said or purport to be. That which is described as real is genuine as opposed to counterfeit, false, or merely supposed: a real emerald; real leather binding; My real ambition is to be a dentist. Actual usually stresses contrast with another state of affairs that has been proposed or suggested: The actual cost is much less; to conceal one's actual motive. True implies a perfect correspondence with actuality and is in direct contrast to that which is false or inaccurate: a true account of the events; not bravado but true courage. See also authentic.

Usage note

The intensifying adverb real, meaning “very,” is informal and limited to speech or to written representations of speech: He drives a real beat-up old car. The adjective real meaning “true, actual, genuine, etc.,” is standard in all types of speech and writing: Their real reasons for objecting became clear in the discussion. The informal adjective sense “absolute, complete” is also limited to speech or representations of speech: These interruptions are a real bother.


[ rey-ahl; Spanish re-ahl ]
/ reɪˈɑl; Spanish rɛˈɑl /

noun, plural re·als [rey-ahlz] /reɪˈɑlz/, Spanish re·a·les [re-ah-les] /rɛˈɑ lɛs/.

a former silver coin of Spain and Spanish America, the eighth part of a peso.

Origin of real

1605–15; < Spanish: royal < Latin rēgālis regal1


[ rey-ahl; Portuguese re-ahl ]
/ reɪˈɑl; Portuguese rɛˈɑl /


singular of reis.


[ reys; Portuguese reys ]
/ reɪs; Portuguese reɪs /

plural noun, singular re·al [rey-ahl; Portuguese re-ahl] /reɪˈɑl; Portuguese rɛˈɑl/.

a former money of account of Portugal and Brazil.
Compare milreis.

Origin of reis

1545–55; < Portuguese, plural of real real2 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for real

British Dictionary definitions for real


/ (ˈrɪəl) /



Derived Formsrealness, noun

Word Origin for real

C15: from Old French réel, from Late Latin reālis, from Latin rēs thing

noun plural reals or reales (Spanish reˈales)

a former small Spanish or Spanish-American silver coin

Word Origin for real

C17: from Spanish, literally: royal, from Latin rēgālis; see regal 1

noun plural reis (rəjʃ)

the standard monetary unit of Brazil, divided into 100 centavos
a former coin of Portugal

Word Origin for real

ultimately from Latin rēgālis regal 1

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

Word Origin and History for real
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with real


In addition to the idiom beginning with real

  • real McCoy, the

also see:

  • for real
  • get real
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.