Real life

Real life

Real life is a term usually used to denote actual human life lived by real people in contrast with the lives of fictional or fantasy characters.[1]


Usage online and in fiction

On the Internet, "real life" refers to life in the real world. It generally references life or consensus reality, in contrast to an environment seen as fiction or fantasy, such as virtual reality, lifelike experience, dreams, novels, or movies. Online, the acronym "IRL" stands for "in real life", with the meaning "not on the Internet".[2]

When used to distinguish from fictional worlds or universes against the consensus reality of the reader, the term has a long history:

Authors, as a rule, attempt to select and portray types rarely met with in their entirety, but these types are nevertheless more real than real life itself.

In its use for differentiating online personal worlds from "offline" life, the term has a much shorter history and a more unclear future, as the Internet has existed for a much shorter time. Sociologists engaged in the study of the Internet have determined that someday, a distinction between online and real-life worlds may seem "quaint", noting that certain types of online activity, such as sexual intrigues, have already made a full transition to complete legitimacy and "reality".[4]

"Real life" is sometimes a controversial term, describing "productive" activities, such as working, in contrast to "unproductive" (leisure) activities. Outside of fictional worlds, the phrase is often used to compare a more traditional way of living against a pejoratively depicted existence, such as academic life, in a manner similar to the term "real world".[5] A person with experience in "real life" or the "real world" has experience beyond book learning.

Related terminology

The abbreviation "RL" stands for "real life". For example, one can speak of "meeting in RL" someone whom one has met in a chat or on an Internet forum. It may also be used to express an inability to use the Internet for a time due to "RL problems". Similarly, the phrase "in real life" is often replaced with the acronym "IRL". Some prefer the expression "face-to-face", abbreviated "f2f". Some Internet users use the idioms face time or "meatspace" or "meat world", which contrasts with the term "cyberspace".[6][7] "Meatspace" has appeared in the Financial Times[8] and in science fiction literature.[9] Some early uses of the term include a post to the Usenet newsgroup austin.public-net in 1993[10] and an article in the Seattle Times about John Perry Barlow in 1995.[11] The term entered the Oxford English Dictionary in 2000.[12] The terms "meatspace" and "meat world" are apparently derived originally from the science fiction novel Neuromancer by William Gibson, published in 1984. In the novel, the anti-hero of the novel, Henry Dorset Case, works as a hacker in a virtual reality data space in cyberspace (a term also coined by William Gibson in 1981) called the "Matrix". Case describes his physical body as his "meat self" and in the early mid 21st century when the novel takes place, prostitutes are described as "meat puppets". Gibson apparently derived this term from the punk rock band Meat Puppets, founded in 1980.[13]

Other uses


"Real life" is also a synonym (John 6:39-40) for the Christian understanding of eternal life—the outcome of being "born anew" or "born again" mentioned in the Bible (John 3:7). In contemporary usage, it includes the notion of a favorable "abundant life" (John 10:10), leading to its use in names such as Real Life Church.[14] In this Biblical context, "real life" begins on Earth when one decides to become a Christian, continues through this life until death, then continues beyond in the presence of a divine God. Because of this overlap, it is not comparing spirit and flesh, as in ancient Greek philosophy, but rather, an integration that elevates humanity beyond this life in substance and time. Christians believe Jesus inaugurated human eternal life by his resurrection, which is commemorated at Easter.[citation needed]


"Real life" is also used to mean life after education or to mean adulthood or the world of adults as opposed to childhood or adolescence.[citation needed]

See also


  1. ^ Real Life,
  2. ^ " search for IRL". 
  3. ^ "Fyodor Dostoyevsky: The Idiot: Part IV: Chapter I". The Free Online Library. Retrieved 2006-05-06. 
  4. ^ Don Slater (2002). "Social Relationships and Identity On-line and Off-line". In Leah, Sonia, Lievrouw, and Livingstone. Handbook of New Media: Social Shaping and Consequences of ICTs. Sage Publications Inc. pp. 533–543. ISBN 0761965106. 
  5. ^ "Definition of "real life"". WordNet Search. Retrieved 2007-01-10. [dead link]
  6. ^ "meatspace (MEET.spays) n.". Word Spy. Paul McFedries and Logophilia Limited. 1996-11-14. Retrieved 2008-08-11. 
  7. ^ Dodero, Camille (17 July 2006). "Does your life suck?". The Phoenix. Retrieved 2007-07-23. "Beyond this world, in real life — a/k/a what Second Lifers refer to as "meatspace," where your body is made of flesh, not bytes…" 
  8. ^ Rhymer Rigby (2006-08-23). "Warning: interruption overload".,dwp_uuid=4e612cca-6707-11da-a650-0000779e2340,print=yes.html. Retrieved 2011-10-22. 
  9. ^ For example:
    • Stephenson, Neal (2000). Cryptonomicon. HarperCollins. p. 529. ISBN 0380788624. "Current meatspace coordinates, hot from the GPS receiver card in my laptop: ..." 
    • Stirling, S. M. (2003). T2: Rising Storm. T2 Series. HarperCollins. p. 53. ISBN 038080817X. "On the Internet the gloves come off and people say things they'd never say in meat space." 
  10. ^ Barnes, Douglas (21 February 1993). "Austin CyberSpace Journal #1". Retrieved 2008-03-13. "Meatspace update (quick rundown on where/how to interact with net.folks in meatspace, i.e., regular events, social gatherings, restaurant hangouts, etc.)" 
  11. ^ Andrews, Paul (30 October 1995). "He's Trying To Build A Community On-Line -- Grateful Dead Lyricist Ventures Into Cyberspace". The Seattle Times. Retrieved 2008-03-13. "John Perry Barlow is multitasking between cyberspace, meatspace and parentspace about as well as a mere mortal can do." 
  12. ^ "'Lookist' Britain: the way we look inspires the new English". Retrieved 2008-03-13. 
  13. ^ William Gibson Neuromancer New York:1984 Ace Books 1987 edition Page 147 Prostitutes are described as "Meat Puppets".
  14. ^ "Real Life Church". Retrieved 2009-04-11. 

External links

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  • Real life — Saltar a navegación, búsqueda Real Life puede referirse a: Real Life, grupo de los 80. Real Life, álbum de Magazine. Real Life, álbum de Joan as Police Woman. The Real Life, álbum de Raven Maize. Life is Real (Song for Lennon) , canción del álbum …   Wikipedia Español

  • Real life — ist: ein Begriff der Netzkultur, siehe Real Life (Netzkultur) eine Band, siehe Real Life (Band) ein US amerikanischer Film Real Life (Film) aus dem Jahr 1979 …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Real Life — steht für: Real Life (Netzkultur), einen Begriff der Netzkultur Real Life (Band), eine 1981 gegründete Band Real Life (Film), einen US amerikanischer Film aus dem Jahr 1979 Diese Seite ist eine Begriffsklä …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • real-life — adj [only before noun] actually happening in life, not invented in a book ▪ a real life drama ▪ real life problems …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • real life — noun uncount the world as it really is, rather than as it is in your imagination or in stories: He plays a bad guy, but in real life he s very gentle. ╾ ,real life adjective …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • real-life — [rē′əl līf΄] adj. actual; not imaginary …   English World dictionary

  • real-life — /ree euhl luyf , reel /, adj. existing or happening in reality: real life drama. [1830 40] * * * real life adjective Thesaurus: real and seeming realsynonym Main entry: real life * * * adj, always used before a noun : happening in the real world… …   Useful english dictionary

  • real life — noun the practical world as opposed to the academic world (Freq. 5) a good consultant must have a lot of experience in the real world • Syn: ↑real world • Hypernyms: ↑world, ↑reality * * * real life noun …   Useful english dictionary

  • Real Life — Cette page d’homonymie répertorie les différents sujets et articles partageant un même nom. Real Life peut se référer à : Real Life, un film d Albert Brooks (1979) Real life, un film de Francis Megahyavec Lynsey Baxter etRupert Everett… …   Wikipédia en Français

  • real life — N UNCOUNT: usu in N If something happens in real life, it actually happens and is not just in a story or in someone s imagination. In real life men like Richard Gere don t marry street girls... Children use fantasy to explore worrying aspects of… …   English dictionary

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