Definition of real adjective from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE usually BrE//rɪəl//
    , BrE//ˈriːəl//
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈriːəl//
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    existing/not imagined
  1. 1  actually existing or happening and not imagined or pretended It wasn't a ghost; it was a real person. pictures of animals, both real and mythological In the movies guns kill people instantly, but it's not like that in real life. Politicians seem to be out of touch with the real world. The growth of violent crime is a very real problem. There's no real possibility of them changing their minds. We have a real chance of success.
  2. true/genuine
  3. 2  genuine and not false or artificial Are those real flowers? real leather
  4. 3  [only before noun] actual or true, rather than what appears to be true Tell me the real reason. Bono's real name is Paul Hewson. See the real Africa on one of our walking safaris. I couldn't resist the opportunity to meet a real live celebrity. I do my best to hide my real feelings from others.
  5. 4  [only before noun] having all the important qualities that it should have to deserve to be called what it is called She never had any real friends at school. his first real kiss I had no real interest in politics. He was making a real effort to be nice to her. She has not shown any real regret for what she did.
  6. for emphasis
  7. 5  [only before noun] used to emphasize a state or quality He looks a real idiot. This accident could have produced a real tragedy. Her next play was a real contrast. This is a real privilege.
  8. money/income
  9. 6[only before noun] when the effect of such things as price rises on the power of money to buy things is included in the sums Real wage costs have risen by 10% in the past year. This represents a reduction of 5% in real terms.
  10. Word Originlate Middle English (as a legal term meaning ‘relating to things, especially real property’): from Anglo-Norman French, from late Latin realis, from Latin res ‘thing’.Extra examples That world no longer seemed real to her. The pearls looked real enough. The possibility of being arrested was frighteningly real. real or imagined threats to national security the very real danger of war He looks like a real idiot. He made a real cock-up of it. In the movies guns kill people instantly, but it’s not like that in real life. It wasn’t a ghost; it was a real person. Marilyn Monroe’s real name was Norma Jean Baker. Politicians seem to be out of touch with the real world. Real silk is very expensive.Idioms genuine or serious This is not a fire drill—it's for real. (North American English) He managed to convince voters that he was for real. I don’t think her tears were for real. (informal) used to tell somebody that they are behaving in a stupid or unreasonable way (informal) to act in an honest and natural way
    the (real) power behind the throne
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    the person who really controls an organization, a country, etc. in contrast to the person who is legally in charge The president’s wife was suspected of being the real power behind the throne.
    (informal) something that is genuine and that has value, not a copy It's an American flying jacket, the real McCoy. (informal) the genuine thing Are you sure it's the real thing (= love), not just infatuation?
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: real