Simple Definition of quixotic
: hopeful or romantic in a way that is not practical
Examples of quixotic in a sentence
In … an earnest book-length essay of neo-Victorian public-mindedness that deplores the “nasty, knowing abuse” that the author would have us fear contaminates too much American humor lately, David Denby, a movie critic for The New Yorker, sets for himself what has to be one of the most quixotic projects that a moral reformer can undertake. —Walter Kirn, New York Times Book Review, 22 Feb. 2009
The history of biblical oil prospecting is filled with quixotic quests and colorful characters, starting with Welsie Hancock, a wealthy California man who in the 1960s dreamed that Jesus told him he would find black gold in the Holy Land. He sunk his entire fortune into two dry holes. —Mariah Blake, Mother Jones, January and February 2008
Mumey had announced his candidacy as an independent in the partisan election, which meant that he needed 2,300 signatures of registered voters in order to get on the ballot in the fall. It seemed a quixotic adventure, given the small size of Celebration and Mumey's lack of name recognition outside the town. —Douglas Frantz et al., Celebration, USA, 1999
They had quixotic dreams about the future.
<in this age of giant chain stores, any attempt at operating an independent bookstore must be regarded as quixotic>
Did You Know?
If you guessed that quixotic has something to do with Don Quixote, you're absolutely right. The hero of the 17th-century Spanish novel El Ingenioso Hidalgo Don Quijote de la Mancha (by Miguel de Cervantes) didn't change the world by tilting at windmills, but he did leave a linguistic legacy in English. The adjective quixotic is based on his name and has been used to describe unrealistic idealists since at least the early 18th century. The novel has given English other words as well. Dulcinea, the name of Quixote's beloved, has come to mean mistress or sweetheart, and rosinante, which is sometimes used to refer to an old, broken-down horse, comes from the name of the hero's less-than-gallant steed.
Origin of quixotic
First Known Use: 1718
Synonym Discussion of quixotic
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up quixotic? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).