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1. Serious or legitimate. Is he for real? There's no way we'll get all this work done by Friday.
2. Really. Often used as a question. A: "I just got a raise!" B: "For real? Good for you!" Is she for real going to put ketchup on her pasta?
Inf. genuine; not imaginary. Ken is really strange. Is he for real? This whole day has been weird, it just isn't for real.
Actually so, genuine, as in Are your plans to move away for real? [Slang; mid-1900s]
for realused to assert that something is genuine or is actually the case. North American informal
1992 Michael Bishop Count Geiger's Blues The man…radiated only bluster and uncertainty. If challenged, he'd run. The other man facing Xavier was for real. He'd fight.
1 if you do something for real, you do something which is genuine or serious, rather than imagined, practised or talked about, etc: You might think that jumping out of a plane is easy, but when you do it for real, it’s terrifying. ♢ He’s joked about emigrating to Canada in the past, but this time I think it’s for real.
2 genuine: Do you think this offer of a free flight is for real?
mod. genuine; not imaginary. Ken is really strange. Is he 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).
Actually, in truth. This slangy usage dates from the mid-1900s. It also can be used in the sense of being serious, as in “You got the leading role— for real?”