[ree-uh-lee, ree-lee]
See more synonyms for really on
  1. in reality; actually: to see things as they really are.
  2. genuinely or truly: a really honest man.
  3. indeed: Really, this is too much.
  1. (used to express surprise, exasperation, etc.)

Origin of really

late Middle English word dating back to 1400–50; see origin at real1, -ly
Can be confusedreally re-ally


verb (used with or without object), re-al·lied, re-al·ly·ing.
  1. to ally again or anew.

Origin of re-ally

1425–75; late Middle English realy < Middle French real(l)ier; see rally1
Can be confusedreally re-ally Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for really

Contemporary Examples of really

Historical Examples of really

  • But, to relieve your mind, nothing at all has really happened.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • Really it's been interesting, the jolliest time of my life, and it's got me all unsettled.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • And really they're the most unemotional and matter-of-fact couple I ever saw.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • Could his eyes deceive him, or was this really the man whom he had so grossly injured?

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • They're really one and a half sizes too small, and almost kill me.

British Dictionary definitions for really


  1. in reality; in actuality; assuredlyit's really quite harmless
  2. truly; genuinelyreally beautiful
  1. an exclamation of dismay, disapproval, doubt, surprise, etc
  2. not really? an exclamation of surprise or polite doubt


See very
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 really

c.1400, originally in reference to the presence of Christ in the Eucharist, from real (adj.) + -ly (2). Sense of "actually" is from early 15c. Purely emphatic use dates from c.1600; interrogative use (oh, really?) is first recorded 1815.



"to form an alliance again," c.1600, from re- + ally (v.). Related: Re-allied.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper