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I have two Bantleys, three Bugatis, two dwellings and a land.

estate - All the money and property owned by a particular person, especially at death.
real estate - Property consisting of land or buildings

I know shares, stock, debentures are not real estate. Aren't above mentioned things are real in terms of estate? Well, consider me on my deathbed.

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  • i'm favorite among downvoters without comments! :)
    – Maulik V
    Mar 20 '14 at 10:51
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    There are several reasons one might downvote without a comment. There are several ways to handle it, too. One way is to whine publicly. Another way is to strive for higher-quality contributions.
    – J.R.
    Mar 20 '14 at 10:59
  • @J.R. whine publicly - I don't agree. I wrote a comment after being downvoted. And also I don't agree...in fact I now doubt their high-quality. If they are high-quality contributors, they would justify the downvote commenting here rather acting as an anonymous.
    – Maulik V
    Mar 20 '14 at 11:04
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    Yes, I understand that. You got downvoted, and then you whined about it – twice. As for high-quality, I was referring to your questions, not the downvoters. If you get downvoted a lot, perhaps you should write better questions, or try to improve the ones that get the downvotes.
    – J.R.
    Mar 20 '14 at 13:12
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Actually, there's already a question about "Real Estate" term on English.SE.

I've heard the version of "real" coming from "royal", so "Real Estate" is in fact "Royal Estate", therefore a property of a king (a state), because it's on their land and you can't take it with you. This was mentioned in some economy book from my studies, I can't tell now which one. But the Online Etymology Dictionary doesn't mention that fact:

real (adj.) early 14c., "actually existing, true;" mid-15c., "relating to things" (especially property), from Old French reel "real, actual," from Late Latin realis "actual," in Medieval Latin "belonging to the thing itself," from Latin res "matter, thing," of uncertain origin. Meaning "genuine" is recorded from 1550s; sense of "unaffected, no-nonsense" is from 1847.

Genuine from that definition makes most sense, because the property is something that is very permanent, as opposed to cattle, crops, clothing or slaves, and can't be as easily stolen as gold (there are official registers for real estate owners).

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Many dictionaries would tell you:

real estate (noun) another term for real property

and:

real property (noun) immovable property, esp land and buildings, including proprietary rights over land, such as mineral rights Also called: real estate Compare personal property

Moreover:

personal property (noun) (law) movable property, such as furniture or money

So, to answer your question, your Bentleys and Bugatis are not real property – they are personal property. If anything could qualify as "movable", surely automobiles would.

In this context, the opposite of real is not imagined, but personal.

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Good question but the answer is to think of "real estate" as an indivisible phrase. The phrase comes from old legal history as the others have pointed out. When we speak the phrase we always say "realestate" as one word. On the other hand when we use the word "real" for other things we don't run the words together quite as much. My own observations.

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  • Thank you for calling it a good question. The two downvoters din' bother to leave comments! :)
    – Maulik V
    Mar 20 '14 at 10:53

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