for real


1 [ree-uhl, reel]
true; not merely ostensible, nominal, or apparent: the real reason for an act.
existing or occurring as fact; actual rather than imaginary, ideal, or fictitious: a story taken from real life.
being an actual thing; having objective existence; not imaginary: The events you will see in the film are real and not just made up.
being actually such; not merely so-called: a real victory.
genuine; not counterfeit, artificial, or imitation; authentic: a real antique; a real diamond; real silk.
unfeigned or sincere: real sympathy; a real friend.
Informal. absolute; complete; utter: She's a real brain.
existent or pertaining to the existent as opposed to the nonexistent.
actual as opposed to possible or potential.
independent of experience as opposed to phenomenal or apparent.
(of money, income, or the like) measured in purchasing power rather than in nominal value: Inflation has driven income down in real terms, though nominal income appears to be higher.
Optics. (of an image) formed by the actual convergence of rays, as the image produced in a camera (opposed to virtual ).
of, pertaining to, or having the value of a real number.
using real numbers: real analysis; real vector space.
Informal. very or extremely: You did a real nice job painting the house.
the real.
something that actually exists, as a particular quantity.
reality in general.
for real, Informal.
in reality; actually: You mean she dyed her hair green for real?
real; actual: The company's plans to relocate are for real.
genuine; sincere: I don't believe his friendly attitude is for real.

1400–50; late Middle English < Late Latin reālis, equivalent to Latin re-, variant stem of rēs thing + -ālis -al1

realness, noun

1–5. Real, actual, true in general use describe objects, persons, experiences, etc., that are what they are said or purport to be. That which is described as real is genuine as opposed to counterfeit, false, or merely supposed: a real emerald; real leather binding; My real ambition is to be a dentist. Actual usually stresses contrast with another state of affairs that has been proposed or suggested: The actual cost is much less; to conceal one's actual motive. True implies a perfect correspondence with actuality and is in direct contrast to that which is false or inaccurate: a true account of the events; not bravado but true courage. See also authentic.

The intensifying adverb real, meaning “very,” is informal and limited to speech or to written representations of speech: He drives a real beat-up old car. The adjective real meaning “true, actual, genuine, etc.,” is standard in all types of speech and writing: Their real reasons for objecting became clear in the discussion. The informal adjective sense “absolute, complete” is also limited to speech or representations of speech: These interruptions are a real bother. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
real1 (ˈrɪəl)
1.  existing or occurring in the physical world; not imaginary, fictitious, or theoretical; actual
2.  (prenominal) true; actual; not false: the real reason
3.  (prenominal) deserving the name; rightly so called: a real friend; a real woman
4.  not artificial or simulated; genuine: real sympathy; real fur
5.  (of food, etc) traditionally made and having a distinct flavour: real ale; real cheese
6.  philosophy existent or relating to actual existence (as opposed to nonexistent, potential, contingent, or apparent)
7.  (prenominal) economics (of prices, incomes, wages, etc) considered in terms of purchasing power rather than nominal currency value
8.  (prenominal) Compare personal denoting or relating to immovable property such as land and tenements: real property
9.  physics Compare image
10.  maths involving or containing real numbers alone; having no imaginary part
11.  music
 a.  (of the answer in a fugue) preserving the intervals as they appear in the subject
 b.  Compare tonal denoting a fugue as having such an answer
12.  informal (intensifier): a real fool; a real genius
13.  the real thing the genuine article, not an inferior or mistaken substitute
14.  short for real number
15.  the real that which exists in fact; reality
16.  slang for real not as a test or trial; in earnest
[C15: from Old French réel, from Late Latin reālis, from Latin rēs thing]

real2 (reɪˈɑːl, Spanish reˈal)
n , pl reals, reales
a former small Spanish or Spanish-American silver coin
[C17: from Spanish, literally: royal, from Latin rēgālis; see regal1]

real3 (Portuguese reˈal)
n , pl reis
1.  the standard monetary unit of Brazil, divided into 100 centavos
2.  a former coin of Portugal
[ultimately from Latin rēgālisregal1]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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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.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

for real

Actually so, genuine, as in Are your plans to move away for real? [Slang; mid-1900s]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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