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realistic [adjective]

accepting things as they are in fact and not making decisions based on unlikely hopes for the future

US /ˌriː.əˈlɪs.tɪk/ 
UK /ˌrɪəˈlɪs.tɪk/ 

Let's be realistic (about this) - I just can't afford to pay that much money.

Oxford Essential Dictionary


sensible and accepting what is possible in a particular situation:
We have to be realistic about our chances of winning.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English


realistic S3 /rɪəˈlɪstɪk/ BrE AmE adjective
[Word Family: noun: ↑realism, ↑realist, ↑reality, ↑unreality, ↑realization; adverb: ↑real, ↑really, ↑realistically ≠ ↑unrealistically; adjective: ↑real, ↑unreal, ↑realistic ≠ ↑unrealistic; verb: ↑realize]
1. judging and dealing with situations in a practical way according to what is actually possible rather than what you would like to happen OPP unrealistic
it is not realistic to do something
It’s just not realistic to expect a promotion so soon.
realistic about
You need to be realistic about the amount you can do in a day.
2. a realistic aim or hope is something that it is possible to achieve OPP unrealistic:
Is this a realistic target?
I don’t think they have a realistic chance of winning.
3. realistic pictures or stories show things as they are in real life:
a realistic portrayal of life in Victorian Britain

COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 2)
■ nouns
a realistic chance/prospect We felt we had a realistic chance of beating England.
a realistic option/alternative We do not believe there is any realistic alternative.
a realistic goal/target Set realistic goals for yourself.
a realistic expectation There are no realistic expectations of improvement.
a realistic figure/price A more realistic figure for energy saving would be 20 percent.
a realistic solution Compromise is the only realistic solution.

possible if something is possible, it can be done or achieved: I think it’s possible that we could win the race. | I want to get back by 5 o'clock if possible. | Please let me know your answer as soon as possible.
feasible if an idea or plan is feasible, it is possible and you can find a practical way of doing it: We need to find out first if the idea is technically feasible. | It is not feasible to have security cameras in every part of the building. | Da Silva considered it feasible that uranium could be produced on an industrial scale.
viable possible and likely to be successful, and therefore worth doing: Nuclear energy is the only viable alternative to coal or gas. | The product needs to be commercially viable. | We have yet to find a viable solution to the problem. | The company was no longer financially viable (=it could not make enough money to be able to continue).
workable a workable plan, system, or solution is one that can be done or used: By early morning, they had arrived at a workable and safe solution. | The company would have a tough job convincing people that the deal was workable.
doable informal if something is doable, you have enough money, energy, or skill to do it: This exercise programme is doable for most people. | Do you think the walk is doable? | Hosting great parties is fun, easy, and doable on any budget. | The book is full of interesting and doable recipes.
achievable (also attainable formal) able to be achieved: A 15% cut in carbon emissions is achievable. | Perfect democracy is not attainable, nor is perfect freedom or perfect justice.
realistic if something is realistic, it seems sensible to think that it can be done or achieved: a realistic target | Their expectations didn’t seem very realistic. | It is important to set yourself realistic goals.

Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary


real·is·tic   [ˌriːəˈlɪstɪk]    [ˌrɪəˈlɪstɪk]    [ˌriːəˈlɪstɪk]  adjective
1. accepting in a sensible way what it is actually possible to do or achieve in a particular situation
a realistic assessment
We have to be realistic about our chances of winning.

• It is not realistic to expect people to spend so much money.

2. sensible and appropriate; possible to achieve
Syn:  feasible, Syn: viable
We must set realistic goals.
• a realistic target

• to pay a realistic salary

3. representing things as they are in real life
a realistic drawing
We try to make these training courses as realistic as possible.
realistic graphics
Opp:  unrealistic  
realistic [realistic] adj.
1. (usually approving)
We have to be realistic about our chances.
no-nonsensematter-of-fact|usually approving pragmaticpracticaldown-to-earthlevel-headed
Opp: unrealistic
realistic/matter-of-fact/pragmatic/practical/down-to-earth about sth
a realistic/non-nonsense/matter-of-fact/pragmatic/practical/down-to-earth/level-headed approach
a realistic/pragmatic/practical solution
We must set realistic goals.
possibleachievablefeasiblepracticalworkable|especially business viable
Opp: unrealistic
be realistic/possible/feasible to do sth
a realistic/feasible/practical/workable/viable solution/policy/plan
a realistic/an achievable goal/objective/target
a realistic drawing of a horse
look realistic/authentic/lifelike 
Example Bank:
He was realistic enough to know this success could not last.
It's not realistic to expect people to pay more.
My friends were quite realistic about my problems.
The special effects seem very realistic.
Try to keep your ambitions realistic.
You could make the hands a little more realistic.
You're not being very realistic in your expectations.
beautifully drawn, highly realistic flowers
being very realistic in their expectations
his grimly realistic first novel about drug addicts
If you want to retain good employees, you have to pay a realistic salary.
She made a very realistic drawing of a horse.
The realistic graphics really bring the game to life.
• This report takes a much more realistic view of the situation.

• a realistic alternative/demand/estimate/goal/hope/option/plan/solution/target

Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary

Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary - 4th Edition

realistic / ˌrɪəˈlɪs.tɪk /   / ˌriː.ə- / adjective

B2 accepting things as they are in fact and not making decisions based on unlikely hopes for the future:

Let's be realistic ( about this) - I just can't afford to pay that much money.

It isn't realistic to expect people to work for so little money.

→  See also Realpolitik

B2 seeming to exist or be happening in fact:

The special effects were so realistic.

© Cambridge University Press 2013

Collins COBUILD Advanced Learner’s English Dictionary


 1) ADJ-GRADED: usu v-link ADJ, oft ADJ about n, it v-link ADJ to-inf If you are realistic about a situation, you recognize and accept its true nature and try to deal with it in a practical way.
  Police have to be realistic about violent crime...
  It's only realistic to acknowledge that something, some time, will go wrong.
  ...a realistic view of what we can afford.
  Derived words:
  realistically ADV-GRADED usu ADV with v, also ADV adj As an adult, you can assess the situation realistically.
 2) ADJ-GRADED: usu ADJ n Something such as a goal or target that is realistic is one which you can sensibly expect to achieve.
  Is EC membership a realistic goal for Eastern European countries?...
  A more realistic figure is eleven million...
  Establish deadlines that are more realistic.
 3) ADJ-GRADED You say that a painting, story, or film is realistic when the people and things in it are like people and things in real life.
  ...extraordinarily realistic paintings of Indians...
  The language is foul and the violence horribly realistic.
  Derived words:
  realistically ADV-GRADED usu ADV with v The film starts off realistically and then develops into a ridiculous fantasy.

Merriam-Webster's Advanced Learner's Dictionary

Merriam-Webster's Advanced Learner's Dictionary: 


re·al·is·tic /ˌriːjəˈlɪstɪk/ adj [more ~; most ~]
1 : able to see things as they really are and to deal with them in a practical way
• He tried to be realistic about the situation.
• We have to be realistic and accept the fact that these problems cannot be solved easily.
- opposite unrealistic
2 : based on what is real rather than on what is wanted or hoped for : sensible and appropriate
• The plan is not very realistic.
• a realistic approach/goal
• It's not realistic to expect people to spend that much money on wedding gifts.
- opposite unrealistic
3 : showing people and things as they are in real life
• a realistic painting/novel/description
• The battle scene in the movie was very realistic. [=it seemed very much like a real battle]
- opposite unrealistic
- re·al·is·ti·cal·ly /ˌriːjəˈlɪstɪkli/ adv
• We need to deal with these problems realistically.
• We can't realistically expect the war to end soon. = Realistically, we can't expect the war to end soon.
• The movie portrayed the battle very realistically.


  1. What are some common crimes in your city/ society?
  2. Are some parts of your city/country more dangerous? Why?
  3. Have you ever been the victim of a crime?
  4. Do you think police fights effectively with criminals?
  5. Do you think police dramas are realistic?
  6. Are the punishments for crimes appropriate in your country? Is death sentence allowed in your country? Do you agree or disagree?
  7. Should punishment be the same for teenagers and adults? Why?
  8. Is there any connection between crime and drugs?
  9. Have you ever seen a crime?
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