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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, translated by Arthur Lloyd, Seven Buddhist Sermons, "The World and How to Pass Through It"
      Why should we despise anything in the realm of Buddha?
    • 2006, Christian Neef, "Diary of a Collapsing Superpower", Spiegel Magazine, November 22,
      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,The Church The Schools and Evolution, "Truth Must be Classified Scientifically",
      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, Brave and Bold, Chapter XXXI,
      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, role-playing 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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