American English

Definition of real adjective from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    , NAmE//ˈriəl//
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    existing/not imagined
  1. 1actually 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. 2genuine 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 in 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 like 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 increases 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. Idioms genuine or serious This is not a fire drill—it's for real. He managed to convince voters that he was for real. I don't think her tears were for real.
    get real! (informal)
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    used to tell someone that they are behaving in a stupid or unreasonable way
    keep it real (informal)
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    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.
    the real McCoy (informal)
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    something that is genuine and that has value, not a copy It's one of Elvis's suits, the real McCoy.
    the real thing (informal)
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    the genuine thing Are you sure it's the real thing (= love), not just infatuation?
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: real