[circa 1540] From French réalité (quality of being real), from Middle French realité (property, possession), from Medieval Latin reālitās, from Late Latin reālis (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.


  • IPA(key): /ɹiˈælɪti/, /ɹiˈæləti/
  • (file)
  • Rhymes: -ælɪti


reality (usually uncountable, plural realities)

  1. The state of being actual or real.
    The reality of the crash scene on TV dawned upon him only when he saw the victim was no actor but his friend.
    • (Can we date this quote by Joseph Addison and provide title, author's full name, and other details?)
      A man fancies that he understands a critic, when in reality he does not comprehend his meaning.
    • 1915, G[eorge] A. Birmingham [pseudonym; James Owen Hannay], chapter I, in Gossamer, New York, N.Y.: George H. Doran Company, OCLC 5661828:
      As a political system democracy seems to me extraordinarily foolish, []. My servant is, so far as I am concerned, welcome to as many votes as he can get. [] I do not suppose that it matters much in reality whether laws are made by dukes or cornerboys, but I like, as far as possible, to associate with gentlemen in private life.
    • 2013 June 7, Joseph Stiglitz, “Globalisation is about taxes too”, in 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 [].
  2. A real entity, event or other fact.
    The ultimate reality of life is that it ends in death.
    • (Can we date this quote by John Milton and provide title, author's full name, and other details?)
      And to realities yield all her shows.
    • (Can we date this quote by James Beattie and provide title, author's full name, and other details?)
      My neck may be an idea to you, but it is reality to me.
    • 2005 October 25, European Court of Human Rights, Wypych v. Poland[1], number 2428/05:
      Given the economic realities of contemporary Poland, a requirement to provide information on movable assets which exceed PLN 10,000 in value cannot be held to be excessive.
  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.
    • (Can we date this quote by Thomas Fuller and provide title, author's full name, and other details?)
      To express our reality to the emperor.
  6. (law, obsolete) Realty; real estate.



Derived termsEdit

Related termsEdit


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.

Usage notesEdit

Adjectives that collocate with reality include: harsh; stark; brutal; grim; bitter

Further readingEdit




Borrowed from English reality.


reality m (plural realities or realitys)

  1. (television) reality show