View synonyms for reality


[ ree-al-i-tee ]


, plural re·al·i·ties
  1. the state or quality of being real.
  2. resemblance to what is real.
  3. a real thing or fact.
  4. real things, facts, or events taken as a whole; state of affairs:

    the reality of the business world; vacationing to escape reality.

  5. Philosophy.
    1. something that exists independently of ideas concerning it.
    2. something that exists independently of all other things and from which all other things derive.
  6. something that is real.
  7. something that constitutes a real or actual thing, as distinguished from something that is merely apparent.


  1. noting or pertaining to a TV program or film that portrays nonactors interacting or competing with each other in real but contrived situations, allegedly without a script:

    a popular reality show; reality TV.


/ rɪˈælɪtɪ /


  1. the state of things as they are or appear to be, rather than as one might wish them to be
  2. something that is real
  3. the state of being real
  4. philosophy
    1. that which exists, independent of human awareness
    2. the totality of facts as they are independent of human awareness of them See also conceptualism Compare appearance
  5. in reality
    actually; in fact

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Other Words From

  • anti·re·ali·ty adjective
  • nonre·ali·ty noun plural nonrealities
  • prore·ali·ty noun
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Word History and Origins

Origin of reality1

From the Medieval Latin word reālitās, dating back to 1540–50. See real 1, -ity
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Idioms and Phrases

  1. in reality, in fact or truth; actually:

    brave in appearance, but in reality a coward.

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Example Sentences

Second, the recent surge looks relatively large compared to the spring spike — but in reality, it’s probably smaller.

From Vox

In the 1940s, trailblazing physicists stumbled upon the next layer of reality.

It’s still a ways off, but if companies like Wildtype can make their vision a reality, people, animals, and the planet will all be better off for it.

The reality, though, can flower into all kinds of weirdness.

From Ozy

In many ways, it feels like Americans increasingly live in two different realities.

But if Democrats are faced with the reality of a glut of qualified candidates, Republicans are assembling more of a fantasy team.

That is a reality that still eats at Grace Castro and Yvonne Lozoya.

His hero, Bruce Springsteen, is a gazillionaire, but he still manages to come across as a regular guy, so perception is reality.

He was a dreamer, an idealist, grounded in the reality he observed around him.

I mean, the reality of it was, I had to go out and get on a horse, and ride in, shoot the gun — how hard was that, right?

The intensity of his sensations seemed inexplicable, unless some reality, some truth, lay behind them.

With less intelligent children traces of this tendency to take pictorial representation for reality may appear as late as four.

Thus they become accustomed to act as christians, to become so in reality in his time.

Isaacson thought what the world would say, and suddenly he knew the reality of his affection for Nigel.

In reality he was annoyed at having old Monsieur Farival, who considered himself the better sailor of the two.


Definitions and idiom definitions from Unabridged, based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

Idioms from The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.