Meaning of REAL in English

transcription, транскрипция: [ ri:l ]

Frequency: The word is one of the 700 most common words in English.


Something that is real actually exists and is not imagined, invented, or theoretical.

No, it wasn’t a dream. It was real...

Legends grew up around a great many figures, both real and fictitious.

≠ imaginary



If something is real to someone, they experience it as though it really exists or happens, even though it does not.

Whitechild’s life becomes increasingly real to the reader.

ADJ : usu v-link ADJ , oft ADJ to n


A material or object that is real is natural or functioning, and not artificial or an imitation.

...the smell of real leather...

Who’s to know if they’re real guns or not?...

= genuine

ADJ : usu ADJ n


You can use real to describe someone or something that has all the characteristics or qualities that such a person or thing typically has.

...his first real girlfriend...

The only real job I’d ever had was as manager of the local cafe.

= proper



You can use real to describe something that is the true or original thing of its kind, in contrast to one that someone wants you to believe is true.

This was the real reason for her call...

Her real name had been Miriam Pinckus.

= true



You can use real to describe something that is the most important or typical part of a thing.

When he talks, he only gives glimpses of his real self...

The smart executive has people he can trust doing all the real work.



You can use real when you are talking about a situation or feeling to emphasize that it exists and is important or serious.

Global warming is a real problem...

The prospect of civil war is very real...

There was never any real danger of the children being affected...

ADJ : usu ADJ n [ emphasis ]


You can use real to emphasize a quality that is genuine and sincere.

Germany has shown real determination to come to terms with the anti-Semitism of its past.

ADJ : ADJ n [ emphasis ]


You can use real before nouns to emphasize your description of something or someone. ( mainly SPOKEN )

‘It’s a fabulous deal, a real bargain.’

ADJ : ADJ n [ emphasis ]


The real cost or value of something is its cost or value after other amounts have been added or subtracted and when factors such as the level of inflation have been considered.

...the real cost of borrowing.

= actual, net


You can also talk about the cost or value of something in real terms .

In real terms the cost of driving is cheaper than a decade ago...

PHRASE : PHR with cl


You can use real to emphasize an adjective or adverb. ( AM INFORMAL )

He is finding prison life ‘real tough’...

= really

ADV : ADV adj / adv [ emphasis ]


If you say that someone does something for real , you mean that they actually do it and do not just pretend to do it.

The sex scenes were just good acting. We didn’t do it for real.

PHRASE : usu PHR after v


If you think that someone or something is very surprising, you can ask if they are for real . ( AM INFORMAL )

Is this guy for real?

PHRASE : v-link PHR


If you say that a thing or event is the real thing , you mean that it is the thing or event itself, rather than an imitation or copy.

The counterfeits sell for about $20 less than the real thing...


Collins COBUILD Advanced Learner's English Dictionary.      Английский словарь Коллинз COBUILD для изучающих язык на продвинутом уровне.