Meaning of REALIZE in English

rea ‧ lize S1 W1 BrE AmE ( also realise British English ) /ˈrɪəlaɪz/ verb [transitive not usually in progressive]

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

[ Date: 1600-1700 ; Language: French ; Origin: réaliser , from Old French real ; ⇨ ↑ real 1 ]

1 . UNDERSTAND to know and understand something, or suddenly begin to understand it

realize (that)

I suddenly realized that the boy was crying.

Do you realize you’re an hour late?

realize who/what/how etc

I’m sorry, I didn’t realize who you were.

It took us a while to realize the extent of the tragedy.

It was only later that I realized my mistake.

► Do not say that you ‘realize about/of something’. Say that you realize something .

2 . ACHIEVE formal to achieve something that you were hoping to achieve:

She never realized her ambition of winning an Olympic gold medal.

a young singer who has not yet realized her full potential (=achieved as much as she can achieve)

3 . sb’s worst fears were realized used to say that the thing that you were most afraid of has actually happened:

His worst fears were realized when he heard that Chris had been arrested.


a) formal to obtain or earn an amount of money:

The campaign realized $5000.

We realized a small profit on the sale of the house.

b) realize an asset technical to change something that you own into money by selling it

• • •


▪ realize to begin to understand, notice, or know something that you did not understand etc before:

I hadn’t realized that Ben was his brother.


She suddenly realized who the man in the photograph was.

▪ become aware to gradually realize that something is happening or is true, over a period of time:

He slowly became aware that he was not alone


People are becoming more aware of the harmful effects of cars on the environment.

▪ dawn on somebody if something dawns on you, you realize it for the first time – often used in the phrase it dawned on somebody :

It dawned on me that he could be lying.


It only dawned on her that she was in danger when she saw rescue workers running away from the building.


He thought about the dream for a long time before its meaning began to dawn on him.

▪ sink in if something sinks in, you begin to realize its full meaning or importance, especially gradually:

It took a few minutes for the doctor’s words to sink in.


The reality of what I had done slowly began to sink in.

▪ hit if a fact hits you, you suddenly understand it and how important it is:

It hit me one day that he didn’t care. He’d talk when I phoned him, but he’d never call me.

▪ strike if an idea or thought strikes you, you suddenly think of it:

It suddenly struck her what a risk she was taking.


A thought has just struck me - there must be other people with the same problem.

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