Under the brown fog of a winter dawn,
A crowd flowed over London Bridge, so many,
I had not thought death had undone so many.
[Eliot, from "The Waste Land," 1922]
In reference to scholastic doctrine of Thomas Aquinas (opposed to nominalism), it is recorded in English from 1826. Opposed to idealism in philosophy, art, etc. The sense of "tendency to see things as they are" is by 1817. The meaning in art, literature, etc., "close resemblance to the scene, representation of what is real in fact" (often with attention to unpleasant details) is attested from 1856 (Ruskin; compare realistic).
Proto-Indo-European root meaning "move in a straight line," with derivatives meaning "to direct in a straight line," thus "to lead, rule."
It forms all or part of: abrogate; address; adroit; Alaric; alert; anorectic; anorexia; arrogant; arrogate; bishopric; correct; corvee; derecho; derogate; derogatory; Dietrich; direct; dress; eldritch; erect; ergo; Eric; Frederick; Henry; incorrigible; interregnum; interrogate; maharajah; Maratha; prerogative; prorogue; rack (n.1) "frame with bars;" rail (n.1) "horizontal bar passing from one post or support to another;" Raj; rajah; rake (n.1) "toothed tool for drawing or scraping things together;" rake (n.2) "debauchee; idle, dissolute person;" rakish; rank (adj.) "corrupt, loathsome, foul;" real (n.) "small Spanish silver coin;" realm; reck; reckless; reckon; rectangle; rectify; rectilinear; rectitude; recto; recto-; rector; rectum; regal; regent; regicide; regime; regimen; regiment; region; regular; regulate; Regulus; Reich; reign; resurgent; rex; rich; right; Risorgimento; rogation; royal; rule; sord; source; subrogate; subrogation; surge; surrogate; viceroy.
It is the hypothetical source of/evidence for its existence is provided by:
Sanskrit raj- "a king, a leader," rjyati "he stretches himself," riag "torture" (by racking); Avestan razeyeiti "directs," raštva- "directed, arranged, straight;" Persian rahst "right, correct;" Latin regere "to rule, direct, lead, govern," rex (genitive regis) "king," rectus "right, correct;" Greek oregein "to reach, extend;" Old Irish ri, Gaelic righ "a king," Gaulish -rix "a king" (in personal names, such as Vircingetorix), Old Irish rigim "to stretch out;" Gothic reiks "a leader," raihts "straight, right;" Lithuanian raižytis "to stretch oneself;" Old English rice "kingdom," -ric "king," rice "rich, powerful," riht "correct;" Gothic raihts, Old High German recht, Old Swedish reht, Old Norse rettr "correct."
1916, "real estate agent," American English, as though an agent noun from realty, coined by real estate agent Charles N. Chadbourn of Minneapolis, Minn., to distinguish the legitimate section of the business; popularized 1920s; patented as Realtor by the National Association of Real Estate Boards.
The 1916 Convention of the National Association of Real Estate Boards (NAREB) approved the adoption of the term as the official designation of an active member of the Association. In 1920 the District Court of Hennepin County, Minnesota, decided in favor of the Realtors in a case against a telephone directory publisher that had indiscriminately used the word in listings. The court asserted that the word "had never been used in any way whatsoever until so invented" and could thus be used only by those duly licensed by the National Association of Real Estate Boards. Until the Lanham Acts of 1948 changed federal patent regulations to allow protection for registered collective marks, the National Association fought and won sixteen cases on the local and state levels to protect its symbolic property. [Jeffrey M. Hornstein, "The Rise of Realtor," in "The Middling Sorts: Explorations in the History of the American Middle Class," New York, 2001]
as in the real McCoy, "the real thing; the genuine article," by 1881, said to be from Scottish the real Mackay (1883), which is of uncertain origin, though there are many candidates, the most likely of which is that it refers to whiskey distilled by A. and M. Mackay of Glasgow (the phrase the real McCoy became popular during Prohibition to describe liquor). Other stories credit it to Charles S. "Kid" McCoy (1872-1940), former welterweight boxing champ; and to a claimant for chief of the northern branch of the clan Mackay.
"By jingo! yes; so it will be. It's the 'real McCoy,' as Jim Hicks says. Nobody but a devil can find us there." [James S. Bond, "The Rise and Fall of the Union Club," Yorkville, Canada, 1881]