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[circa 1540] From French réalité (quality of being real), Middle French realité (property, possession), from Medieval Latin realitas, from Late Latin realis (real). Recorded since 1550 as a legal term in the sense of “fixed property” (compare real estate, realty); the sense “real existence” is attested from 1647.



reality (usually uncountable, plural realities)

  1. The state of being actual or real.
    • Addison
      A man fancies that he understands a critic, when in reality he does not comprehend his meaning.
    • 2013 June 7, Joseph Stiglitz, “Globalisation is about taxes too”, The Guardian Weekly, volume 188, number 26, page 19: 
      It is time the international community faced the reality: we have an unmanageable, unfair, distortionary global tax regime. It is a tax system that is pivotal in creating the increasing inequality that marks most advanced countries today […].
    The reality of the crash scene on TV dawned upon him only when he saw the victim was no actor but his friend.
  2. A real entity, event or other fact.
    • Milton
      And to realities yield all her shows.
    • Beattie
      My neck may be an idea to you, but it is reality to me.
    The ultimate reality of life is that it ends in death.
  3. The entirety of all that is real.
  4. An individual observer's own subjective perception of that which is real.
  5. (obsolete) Loyalty; devotion.
    • Fuller
      To express our reality to the emperor.
  6. (law, obsolete) realty; real estate


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See also[edit]




reality m (plural realities)

  1. (television) reality show