What Is Another Name for a Real Data Type?


Larry Thompson

What Is Another Name for a Real Data Type?

In the world of programming, data types play a crucial role in defining the type of data that can be stored and manipulated by a program. One such data type is the “real” data type, which represents decimal numbers or floating-point numbers.

While “real” is a commonly used term to refer to this data type, it is also known by another name – “float”.

Real Data Type – An Overview

The real data type is used to store numbers with decimal points. This includes numbers like 3.14, 0.5, -10.75, and so on.

It is particularly useful when precision and accuracy are required for mathematical calculations or when dealing with values that cannot be represented accurately using integer data types.

The Alias – Float

The term “float” is an alias for the real data type in many programming languages. It originated from the concept of “floating-point representation,” which refers to the scientific notation used to approximate real numbers with a fixed number of significant digits.

Using the float alias instead of real can make your code more concise and readable. It also aligns with the naming conventions followed by many popular programming languages like C, C++, Java, Python, and JavaScript.

Example Usage:

// C++
float pi = 3.14159;
float temperature = -10.5;

Benefits of Using Real/Float Data Type:

  • Precision: The real/float data type allows for precise representation of decimal values.
  • Flexibility: It can handle a wide range of values, both positive and negative, with decimal places.
  • Efficiency: Floating-point operations can be performed quickly and efficiently by modern processors.


While the real/float data type provides numerous advantages, it is worth noting that floating-point arithmetic may introduce some limitations due to the inherent nature of representing decimal numbers in binary form. This can sometimes lead to rounding errors and slight inaccuracies in calculations.

To mitigate these issues, various techniques, such as using specialized libraries or algorithms, are available. However, it is important to be aware of these considerations when working with real/float data types in order to ensure accurate results.


In summary, the real data type is commonly referred to as “float” in the programming world. It allows for precise representation of decimal numbers and offers flexibility and efficiency for performing mathematical operations.

However, it’s essential to understand the considerations associated with floating-point arithmetic to avoid potential inaccuracies in calculations.

So next time you encounter the term “real” or “float” while coding or reading programming documentation, remember that they refer to the same data type – a versatile tool for handling decimal numbers in various programming languages.

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