- 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. true/genuine
- 2 genuine and not false or artificial Are those real flowers? real leather
- 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.
- 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. for emphasis
- 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. money/income
- 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. Word Origin late Middle English (as a legal term meaning ‘relating to things, especially real property’): from Anglo-Norman French, from late Latin realis, from Latin res