from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun plural Objects, such as coins, household items, or natural specimens, that are included in a collection primarily composed of documentary materials, as in a library.
  • noun plural Objects drawn from real life that are used in classroom instruction.
  • noun plural Images or illustrations that represent such objects, especially in a textbook.
  • noun plural Real things or facts, especially in contrast to interpretations or idealized representations of them.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun Objects from real life or from the real world, as opposed to theoretical constructs or fabricated examples.


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Latin reālia, neuter pl. of reālis, real, actual; see real.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Late Latin realia, neuter plural of realis ("real").


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  • Term from teaching (EFL for instance), meaning actual real-world material brought into the classroom.

    July 16, 2008

  • I've always understood them as culture-specific things.

    July 16, 2008

  • ~ Realia is a term used in library science and education to refer to certain real-life objects.

    ~ In education, realia include objects used by educators to improve students' understanding of other cultures and real life situations. A teacher of a foreign language often employs realia to strengthen students' associations between words for everyday objects and the objects themselves.

    ~ In library classification systems, realia are objects such as coins, tools, and textiles that do not easily fit into the orderly categories of printed material. Wikipedia

    January 18, 2009

  • This is also a useful term in writing about literature to refer to phenomena that enter a fictional or poetic text but derive from the common everyday life of the intended readership, for example, references to nailclippers or McDonald's. I first encountered it in Russian, as реали�? (realiya), when I was studying Russian literature, so I am not certain it is widely used in English-language literary criticism. But it ought to be.

    January 18, 2009

  • pronunciation?

    December 15, 2015