Meaning of REAL in English


I. real 1 S1 W1 /rɪəl/ BrE AmE adjective

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ realism , ↑ realist , ↑ reality , ↑ unreality , ↑ realization ; adverb : ↑ real , ↑ really , ↑ realistically ≠ ↑ unrealistically ; adjective : ↑ real , ↑ unreal , ↑ realistic ≠ ↑ unrealistic ; verb : ↑ realize ]

[ Date: 1400-1500 ; Language: Old French ; Origin: Medieval Latin realis 'of things (in law)' , from Latin res 'thing' ]

1 . IMPORTANT something that is real exists and is important:

There is a real danger that the disease might spread.

We need to tackle the real problems of unemployment and poverty.

There is no real reason to worry.

2 . NOT ARTIFICIAL something that is real is actually what it seems to be and not false or artificial OPP fake :

a coat made of real fur

She had never seen a real live elephant before.

Artificial flowers can sometimes look better than the real thing.

3 . NOT IMAGINARY something that is real actually exists and is not just imagined:

The children know that Santa Claus isn’t a real person.

Dreams can sometimes seem very real.

Things don’t happen quite that easily in real life.

4 . the real world used to talk about the difficult experience of living and working with other people, rather than being protected at home, at school, or at college:

the shock of leaving university and going out into the real world

5 . TRUE [only before noun] actual and true, not invented:

That’s not her real name.

What was the real reason you quit your job?

6 . FEELINGS a real feeling or emotion is one that you actually experience and is strong SYN genuine :

There was a look of real hatred in her eyes.

I got a real sense of achievement when my work was first published.

7 . RIGHT QUALITIES [only before noun] a real thing has all the qualities you expect something of that type to have:

I remember my first real job.

Simon was her first real boyfriend.

• • •


8 . FOR EMPHASIS [only before noun] used to emphasize how stupid, beautiful, terrible etc someone or something is:

Thanks – you’ve been a real help.

The house was a real mess.

9 . for real seriously, not just pretending:

After two trial runs we did it for real.

10 . are you for real? American English used when you are very surprised or shocked by what someone has done or said

11 . get real! used to tell someone that they are being very silly or unreasonable

12 . keep it real to behave in an honest way and not pretend to be different from how you really are

13 . MONEY [only before noun] a real increase or decrease in an amount of money is one you calculate by including the general decrease in the value of money over a period of time:

a real increase of 6% in average wages

The average value of salaries has fallen in real terms (=calculated in this way) .

• • •


▪ genuine used about a feeling, thing, or person that really is what they seem to be:

genuine concern


Experts believe that the painting is genuine.


genuine refugees


a genuine reason for taking time off work


If a student has genuine religious objections to a school activity, they do not have to participate.

▪ real not false or artificial:

real wood


His real name is Reginald.


It looks just like the real thing.


Are those flowers real or artificial?

▪ authentic authentic food, music, clothes etc are correct for the place or the period in history that they are supposed to be from:

It’s a friendly restaurant offering authentic Greek food.


authentic medieval instruments


The dancers wore authentic Native American designs.

▪ true [only before noun] having all the qualities you would expect a particular type of person or thing to have:

a true friend


She is a true professional.


Being a true Red Sox fan, he never missed a game.


True Christians believe that Jesus is the Son of God.

▪ bona fide /ˌbəʊnə ˈfaɪdi $ ˈbəʊnə faɪd/ [usually before noun] bona fide people or things are really what they say they are, especially when this can be checked by looking at official documents:

a bona fide medical qualification


a bona fide company


This club is only open to bona fide members.

▪ hard evidence/facts evidence or facts that are genuine and can be proved:

There was no hard evidence to support the theory.

II. real 2 BrE AmE adverb American English spoken

[ Word Family: noun : ↑ realism , ↑ realist , ↑ reality , ↑ unreality , ↑ realization ; adverb : ↑ real , ↑ really , ↑ realistically ≠ ↑ unrealistically ; adjective : ↑ real , ↑ unreal , ↑ realistic ≠ ↑ unrealistic ; verb : ↑ realize ]


He’s real cute.

It was real nice to see you again.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.