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un- +‎ real


  • enPR: ŭn-rēl', IPA(key): /ʌnˈɹi.əl/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -iːəl


unreal (comparative more unreal, superlative most unreal)

  1. Not real or substantial; having no actual presence in reality; lacking the characteristics of reality.
    • 1899 Feb, Joseph Conrad, “The Heart of Darkness”, in Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, page 212:
      The word ‘ivory’ rang in the air, was whispered, was sighed. You would think they were praying to it. A taint of imbecile rapacity blew through it all, like a whiff from some corpse. By Jove! I’ve never seen anything so unreal in my life.
    • 1922, Margery Williams, The Velveteen Rabbit
      "The Boy's Uncle made me Real," he said. "That was a great many years ago; but once you are Real you can't become unreal again. It lasts for always."
  2. (informal) very impressive; amazing; unbelievable; incredible; larger or more fantastic than typical of real life.
    The video includes unreal footage of an eight-metre wave.
    I just had an unreal hamburger.
    • 1990, Eurydice, F/32, page 205:
      He stops his cab at every traffic light, unrolls his window and calls out to the other drivers: "I've got a movie star in the car! Follow me down to see her come out. She is unreal, man! I am in seventh heaven! I have a dream!"
    • 1995, Sam Reaves, Get What's Coming, page 60:
      "She just set me up" "Now that's unreal, man. I mean, we're talking about a fairly considerable sum here, aren't we, Dexter?" "Listen to me. She set me up, with a dude she was cheatin' on me with
    • 2012, Thomas Maul, Manila Demon, page 102:
      “Yeah, she does have a certain mental toughness that is unreal,” agreed Berto. “I really don't think of her as a girl, I mean, it's like she's a tough buddy or tough sister to me.”
    • 2011, John Adrian Tomlin, The Imaginarium Machine, page 13:
      He walks around and tries to pluck a flower on the ground. david exclaims, “Holy shit, this is unreal! i can feel the flower, the heat from the sun, and i can even hear the wind! The smells are so vibrant! How could i possibly be smelling flowers?