[ ree-uhl, reel ]
/ ˈri əl, ril /
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See synonyms for: real / reais / reales / reals on Thesaurus.com

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.
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Idioms about real

    for real, Informal.
    1. in reality; actually: You mean she dyed her hair green for real?
    2. true to fact; 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

First recorded in 1400–50; Middle English real(le) “actual, having physical existence); (law) pertaining to goods or property,” from Old French reel, real and Medieval Latin reālis “(law) pertaining to things rather than persons,” from Late Latin reālis “actual, real,” equivalent to Latin re-, variant stem of rēs “thing, matter, affair” + -ālis -al1

synonym study for real

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 for real

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.


re·al·ness, noun

Other definitions for real (2 of 3)

[ 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

First recorded in 1550–60; from Spanish: literally, “royal” (the coins being minted for the king), from Latin rēgālis regal1

Other definitions for real (3 of 3)

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

singular of reis.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use real in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for real (1 of 3)

/ (ˈrɪəl) /


Derived forms of real

realness, noun

Word Origin for real

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

British Dictionary definitions for real (2 of 3)

/ (reɪˈɑːl, Spanish reˈal) /

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

British Dictionary definitions for real (3 of 3)

/ (Portuguese reˈal) /

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

Other Idioms and Phrases with real


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