[ suh-ree-uh-liz-uh m ]
/ səˈri əˌlɪz əm /

noun (sometimes initial capital letter)

a style of art and literature developed principally in the 20th century, stressing the subconscious or nonrational significance of imagery arrived at by automatism or the exploitation of chance effects, unexpected juxtapositions, etc.

Origin of surrealism

From the French word surréalisme, dating back to 1920–25. See sur-1, realism


sur·re·al·ist, noun, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for surrealist

British Dictionary definitions for surrealist

/ (səˈrɪəˌlɪzəm) /


(sometimes capital) a movement in art and literature in the 1920s, which developed esp from dada, characterized by the evocative juxtaposition of incongruous images in order to include unconscious and dream elements

Derived forms of surrealism

surrealist, noun, adjectivesurrealistic, adjectivesurrealistically, adverb

Word Origin for surrealism

C20: from French surréalisme, from sur- 1 + réalisme realism
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

Culture definitions for surrealist


A movement in art and literature that flourished in the early twentieth century. Surrealism aimed at expressing imaginative dreams and visions free from conscious rational control. Salvador Dali was an influential surrealist painter; Jean Cocteau was a master of surrealist film.

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.