The Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary gives the following example phrase:

a fireplace with realistically glowing coals

I'd like to know why "realistically" is used in the first place. What difference would it make if it were removed?

  • 1
    It is a trait of contemporary western architecture and decor that many design elements only resemble their counterparts from yesteryear (fake columns that bear no weight and are merely decorative, fireplaces with fake logs or fake coals, aluminum siding with wood grain, etc). – Tᴚoɯɐuo Jan 31 '18 at 13:24

It means that the fire in the fireplace is not real but almost looks like real. It might be something made from plastic with hidden light bulbs inside to make it glow through the plastic. But this "fake fire" is made so well that it looks realistic—like real coals that are glowing.

If "realistically" were removed, it would mean that this is a fireplace with real coals and real fire.

  • It could be a real gas fire, with glowing "lava rocks" that look like coals. – FumbleFingers Jan 31 '18 at 14:17
  • Possible, yes. Anyways, at least the coals wouldn't be real :) – tenebris2020 Jan 31 '18 at 14:22
  • I had one years ago (coal effect gas fire). I don't think anyone was so crass as to throw actual dogends in it, but an awful lot of cigarette ash would get flicked in there. Which after a few months would clog up the gas jets, leaving me with the incredibly lengthy job of taking all the "coals" out, brushing everything clean, and replacing them. A lengthy job because you had to carefully arrange all those (different, specially shaped) coals in the specific pattern given by the manufacturer's diagram to make sure the gas burned properly. – FumbleFingers Jan 31 '18 at 14:43

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