real time

[ ree-uhl, reel ]
See synonyms for real time on
  1. Computers. the actual time elapsed in the performance of a computation by a computer, the result of the computation being required for the continuation of a physical process.

  2. the actual time during which a process takes place or an event occurs.

Idioms about real time

  1. in real time, Informal. at once; instantaneously.

Origin of real time

First recorded in 1950–55

Words Nearby real time

Other definitions for real-time (2 of 2)

[ ree-uhl-tahym, reel- ]

  1. of or relating to applications in which the computer must respond as rapidly as required by the user or necessitated by the process being controlled. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use real time in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for real-time


  1. denoting or relating to a data-processing system in which a computer receives constantly changing data, such as information relating to air-traffic control, travel booking systems, etc, and processes it sufficiently rapidly to be able to control the source of the data

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

Cultural definitions for real-time


A term used to describe computer systems that update information at the same rate as they receive data.

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