Meaning of REAL in English

I. ˈrē(-ə)l adjective

Etymology: Middle English, real, relating to things (in law), from Anglo-French, from Medieval Latin & Late Latin; Medieval Latin realis relating to things (in law), from Late Latin, real, from Latin res thing, fact; akin to Sanskrit rayi property

Date: 14th century

1. : of or relating to fixed, permanent, or immovable things (as lands or tenements)


a. : not artificial, fraudulent, or illusory : genuine

real gold

also : being precisely what the name implies

a real professional


(1) : occurring or existing in actuality

saw a real live celebrity

a story of real life

(2) : of or relating to practical or everyday concerns or activities

left school to live in the real world

(3) : existing as a physical entity and having properties that deviate from an ideal, law, or standard

a real gas

— compare ideal 3b

c. : having objective independent existence

unable to believe that what he saw was real

d. : fundamental , essential


(1) : belonging to or having elements or components that belong to the set of real numbers

the real roots of an equation

a real matrix

(2) : concerned with or containing real numbers

real analysis

(3) : real-valued

real variable

f. : measured by purchasing power

real income

real dollars

g. : complete , utter

a real fiasco

3. of a particle : capable of being detected — compare virtual 3

• re·al·ness noun

- for real

II. noun

Date: circa 1626

: a real thing ; especially : a mathematically real quantity

III. adverb

Date: 1718

: very

he was real cool — H. M. McLuhan


Most handbooks consider the adverb real to be informal and more suitable to speech than writing. Our evidence shows these observations to be true in the main, but real is becoming more common in writing of an informal, conversational style. It is used as an intensifier only and is not interchangeable with really except in that use.

IV. rā-ˈäl noun

( plural reals or re·ales -ˈä-(ˌ)lās)

Etymology: Spanish, from real royal, from Latin regalis — more at royal

Date: 1555

: a former monetary unit and coin of Spain and its possessions

V. rā-ˈäl noun

( plural reals or reis ˈrāsh, ˈrās, ˈrāzh, ˈrāz)

Etymology: Portuguese, from real royal, from Latin regalis

Date: 1951

1. : a former monetary unit and coin of Portugal

2. — see money table

Merriam-Webster's Collegiate English vocabulary.      Энциклопедический словарь английского языка Merriam Webster.