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See also: re-ally



real +‎ -ly


  • (UK) IPA(key): /ˈɹɪəli/
  • (US) IPA(key): /ˈɹi(ə)li/, /ˈɹɪ(ə)li/
  • (file)
  • Hyphenation: re‧al‧ly
  • Rhymes: -iːli


really ‎(comparative more really, superlative most really)

  1. (modal) Actually; in fact; in reality.
    "He really is a true friend." / "Really? What makes you so sure?"
  2. (informal, as an intensifier) Very (modifying an adjective); very much (modifying a verb).
    But ma, I really, really want to go to the show!
    • 1918, W. B. Maxwell, chapter 10, The Mirror and the Lamp:
      It was a joy to snatch some brief respite, and find himself in the rectory drawing–room. Listening here was as pleasant as talking; just to watch was pleasant. The young priests who lived here wore cassocks and birettas; their faces were fine and mild, yet really strong, like the rector's face; and in their intercourse with him and his wife they seemed to be brothers.
    • 1977, Agatha Christie, An Autobiography, Part II, chapter4:
      There was also hairdressing: hairdressing, too, really was hairdressing in those times — no running a comb through it and that was that. It was curled, frizzed, waved, put in curlers overnight, waved with hot tongs; [].

Usage notes[edit]

  • Like its synonyms, really is, in practice, often used to preface an opinion, rather than a fact. (See also usage notes for actually.)
Increasingly people are recognising what's really important is having children.[1]






  1. Indicating surprise at, or requesting confirmation of, some new information; to express skepticism.
    A: He won the Nobel Prize yesterday.
    B: Really?
  2. (colloquial, sarcastic, typically exaggerated question.) Indicating that what was just said was obvious and unnecessary; contrived incredulity
    A: I've just been reading Shakespeare - he's one of the best authors like, ever!
    B: Really.
  3. (colloquial, chiefly US) Indicating affirmation, agreement.
    A: That girl talks about herself way too much.
    B: Really. She's a nightmare.
  4. Indicating displeasure at another person's behaviour or statement.
    Well, really! How rude.



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  1. ^ Marriner, C (15-01-2005), "The Sydney Morning Herald article 'When men turn clucky'", The Sydney Morning Herald. URL accessed on 2009-04-12.