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From Middle English rewme, realme, reaume, from Old French reaume, realme (kingdom), of unclear origins. A postulated *rēgālimen (domain, kingdom), Late Latin or Vulgar Latin cross of regimen with rēgālis is usually cited.


  • (UK, US) enPR: rĕlm, IPA(key): /ɹɛlm/
  • (file)
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ɛlm


realm (plural realms)

  1. An abstract sphere of influence, real or imagined.
    • 1907, Tada Kanai, “The World and How to Pass Through It”, in Arthur Lloyd, transl., Seven Buddhist Sermons:
      Why should we despise anything in the realm of Buddha?
    • 2006 November 22, Christian Neef, “Diary of a Collapsing Superpower”, in Spiegel Magazine:
      At home in Moscow, Mikhail Sergeyevitch Gorbachev, who had launched a campaign to rejuvenate the Soviet realm  []
    • 2013 May 17, George Monbiot, “Money just makes the rich suffer”, in The Guardian Weekly[1], volume 188, number 23, page 19:
      In order to grant the rich these pleasures, the social contract is reconfigured. […]  The public realm is privatised, the regulations restraining the ultra-wealthy and the companies they control are abandoned, and Edwardian levels of inequality are almost fetishised.
  2. The domain of a certain abstraction.
    • 1922, Judson Eber Conant, “Truth Must be Classified Scientifically”, in The Church The Schools and Evolution:
      One thing more which the scientific man does is to accord primacy to that realm of truth which is primary in importance.
  3. (computing) A scope of operation in networking or security.
  4. (formal or law) A territory or state, as ruled by a specific power, especially by a king.
    • 1874, Horatio Alger, “Chapter XXXI”, in Brave and Bold:
      And, of this island realm, he and his companion were the undisputed sovereigns.
    • 1913, Leslie Alexander Toke, Catholic Encyclopedia, "St. Dunstan",
      Then seeing his life was threatened he fled the realm and crossed over to Flanders, []
  5. (fantasy, roleplaying games) An otherworldly dimension or domain — magical, ethereal, or otherwise — usually ruled or created by a mystical character.
  6. (virology, taxonomy) A taxonomic rank in the phylogeny of viruses, higher than kingdoms.


Derived terms[edit]


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