Word Origin & History
1448, "relating to things" (esp. property), from O.Fr. reel, from L.L. realis "actual," from L. res "matter, thing," of unknown origin. Meaning "genuine" is recorded from 1559; that of "actually existing" is attested from 1597; sense of "unaffected, no-nonsense" is from 1847. Real estate is first recorded
1666 and retains the oldest Eng. sense of the word; Realistic "true to reality" (in art, etc.) is from 1856; meaning "having a practical view of life" is attested from 1862. Noun phrase real time is from 1953; get real, usually an interjection, was U.S. college slang in 1960s, reached wide popularity c.1987.
"Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand." [Margery Williams, "The Velveteen Rabbit"]
"small Spanish silver coin," 1588, from Sp. real, noun use of real (adj.) "regal," from L. regalis "regal." Esp. in ref. to the real de plata, which circulated in the U.S. till c.1850 and in Mexico till 1897.