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a real dilly

Something or someone remarkable, excellent, or very entertaining. "Dilly," an American term from the early 1900s, possibly comes from the first syllable of the word "delightful" or "delicious." Primarily heard in US. I tell you, she's a real dilly. Out at 6 a.m. for a run, getting the kids off to school at 7, then out to manage the firm at 8. That film last night was a real dilly, I couldn't stop thinking about it all night.
See also: dilly, real

a real dynamo

Someone who has boundless energy, enthusiasm, determination, or ability. A dynamo (short for dynoelectric machine) was the first electric generator that could produce direct current for industrial purposes; the application of the term for a person implies that he or she is capable of creating a sustained force or productive energy. Once she is set on a task, she never lets up. She's a real dynamo on the job.
See also: real

a real howler

1. A mistake, error, or blunder that causes great laughter at the expense of the person who commits it, i.e., one that results in "howling" laughter. Do you remember when John actually slipped on a banana peel? That was a real howler.
2. An extremely funny joke, anecdote, or remark that results in "howling" laughter. Boy, Jerry sure knows some real howlers. I thought my sides were going to split I was laughing so hard.
See also: howler, real

a live one

1. A person who lives a wild, carefree, or spendthrift life. I hear Tommy's dating a real live one these days.
2. A person targeted to be the victim of a scam or to be made a dupe by others. Don't go wandering wide-eyed in this part of town—crooks around here can spot a live one a mile away.
See also: live, one

the real deal

1. A person or thing who is genuinely superior or impressive in some regard and is therefore worthy of appreciation or respect. Boy, that superstar lawyer they brought in is the real deal. She's the one who took down Big Oil in court! Wow, this Corvette is the real deal! I never want to drive another car again!
2. The bare truth or facts of a matter. I'm in the middle of writing a book that gives people the real deal on the ties between elected officials and megacorporations.
See also: deal, real

in real time

Instantaneously; as things develop; at the moment something happens. Luckily, because of our undercover reporter, we can get updates on the situation in real time.
See also: real, time

a (real) frog-choker

A particularly heavy or torrential downpour of rain. (Chiefly heard in the southern United States.) It's a real frog-choker out there today—looks like we'll have to have our barbecue another day. There's no way I'm biking to work in a frog-choker like this!

a (real) frog-strangler

A particularly heavy or torrential downpour of rain. (Chiefly heard in the southern United States.) It's a real frog-strangler out there today—looks like we'll have to have our barbecue another day. There's no way I'm biking to work in a frog-strangler like this!

a (real) toad-choker

A particularly heavy or torrential downpour of rain. (Chiefly heard in the southern United States.) It's a real toad-choker out there today—looks like we'll have to have our barbecue another day. There's no way I'm biking to work in a toad-choker like this!

a (real) toad-strangler

A particularly heavy or torrential downpour of rain. (Chiefly heard in the southern United States.) It's a real toad-strangler out there today—looks like we'll have to have our barbecue another day. There's no way I'm biking to work in a toad-strangler like this!

real men don't eat quiche

A phrase that highlights the belief that men should eat meat and other traditionally masculine foods, rather than more delicate foods like quiche (a savory pie-like dish made from eggs). Come on, real men don't eat quiche! How about a nice steak instead?
See also: eat, men, quiche, real

real time

1. noun The present time, or nearly so. The term is used in applications in which some kind of result or imagery is displayed simultaneously (or nearly simultaneously) with when it is occurring. The images you're seeing are in real time—this is a live broadcast.
2. adjective (often hyphenated) Immediate or nearly immediate; present and completely up-to-date. Don't worry, we can get real-time information on the other flights that are available.
See also: real, time

in real life

A phrase used to indicate the existence or qualities of someone or something in reality, specifically as opposed to online. We've been texting, and he seems nice enough, but I just don't know what he's like in real life. The picture doesn't do it justice—her gown was absolutely gorgeous in real life.
See also: life, real

for real

Inf. genuine; not imaginary. Ken is really strange. Is he for real? This whole day has been weird, it just isn't for real.
See also: real

Get real!

Inf. Start acting realistically! Hey, chum! You are way off base! Get real! Get real! Wake up to reality!
See also: get

real McCoy

an authentic thing or person. Of course it's authentic. It's the real McCoy.
See also: McCoy, real

real thing

something that is genuine and not an imitation. I don't want frozen yogurt, I want the real thing! Yes, ice cream! She hates plastic that looks like wood. She wants the real thing.
See also: real, thing

get real

to accept the truth and not deceive yourself Voters want Congress to get real and pass a bill to revive the economy.
Usage notes: also used as an order: You expect me to ignore data like that? Get real!
Related vocabulary: face facts
See also: get, real

for real

1. actually or truly When they told me I had an unlimited budget I knew this was not for real.
Usage notes: often said in reaction to what someone else says: “I don't think I'm going to the party.” “For real?”
2. as good as it seems Any time an unknown player does something amazing, people wonder if he is for real.
See also: real

Get real!

something that you say in order to tell someone that they should try to understand the true facts of a situation instead of hoping for something impossible Oh, get real! You're not tall enough to be a model.
See also: get

the real McCoy

the real thing and not a copy or something similar
Usage notes: Kid McCoy, an American boxer (= a man who fights as a sport), was called 'the real McCoy' to show that he was not another boxer who had the same name.
Cheap sparkling wines cannot be labelled 'champagne'. It has to be the real McCoy.
See also: McCoy, real

for real

Actually so, genuine, as in Are your plans to move away for real? [Slang; mid-1900s]
See also: real

get real

Be realistic, understand what's going on, as in You think you'll win the lottery if you buy one ticket a week? Get real! [Slang; second half of 1900s]
See also: get, real

real McCoy, the

Also, the McCoy. The genuine thing, as in That painting's not a reproduction-it's the real McCoy. This idiom has a disputed origin, but the most likely source is its use to distinguish welterweight champion "Kid McCoy," the name used by Norman Selby (1873-1940), from other boxers using his name to capitalize on his popularity. [c. 1900]
See also: real

4 real

mod. for real. R U 4 real?
See also: real

for real

mod. genuine; not imaginary. Ken is really strange. Is he for real?
See also: real

Get real!

exclam. Start acting realistically! (see also Get a life!.) Hey, chum! You are way off base! Get real!
See also: get

Keep it real!

exclam. Be serious! Come on! Stop that jive! Keep it real!
See also: keep


mod. very; really. This is a real fine party.

real bitch

n. a very difficult or annoying thing or person. (Can refer to male or female.) Fred is a true problem. A real bitch.
See also: bitch, real

real gone

mod. really cool; mellow and pleasant. (see also gone.) Man, this music is real gone.
See also: gone, real

the (real) McCoy

1. n. something authentic. This is the real McCoy. Nothing else like it.
2. n. pure drugs or alcohol. If it’s not the real McCoy, I don’t want it.
See also: McCoy, real

for real

Truly so in fact or actuality: "Is this place for real? A wolf in a ... leisure suit and a cow in a print dress wait patiently on the couch in the lobby" (Teresa Carson).
See also: real

the real McCoy

The genuine article. No one is certain how “McCoy” came to stand for authenticity. It may refer to a Scottish clan leader named McKay; a prizefighter named Kid McCoy, who had a rival with the same name; or a bootlegger whose wares were what he claimed they were.
See also: McCoy, real
References in periodicals archive ?
The conclusions to these troubling American stories yet untold, Farmingville's open ending leaves one hoping that 2004's filmmakers keep the realness coming, one gritty, inspiring story at a time.
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They may not have the fashionable edginess of the skinny-jeans wearing masses, but The Enemy do have a powerful realness about them that kept me glued to the stage.
Making original manuscripts like this accessible to the public is very important as it brings realness to their books and inspires new work.
If you're a girl who is not good at faking it, try Benefit's The Realness of Concealness, right.
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But he longed "to feel the Latino thing again--the calor, that warmth and realness of touch, of family.
Thanks to the mag to make such things as these happen--simple, ordinary, yet authentic instances that give life a few sparkles of realness.
Danse de rien") provides, as for all major poets in the Baudelaire-Rimbaud tradition--from Apollinaire and Frenaud to Jaccottet and Bonnefoy, Etienne and Le Dantec--the moving ground of a poetic reflection anchored in the "miracle" / "peu de chose" of each moment: the endless (ex)changes it conveys, its concreteness, its reciprocal experience of corporality, and yet its atemporalness, its mental-emotional depth, as well as the sense of unknownness it promotes within us, a recognition as buoying as it can be frustrating of the insufficiency of our categories of analysis and articulation of realness and nowness.
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Clancy's vision, like the idea it would replace, has the appeal of realness mixed with new purpose.