Walter Mitty

Wal·​ter Mit·​ty | \ ˌwȯl-tər-ˈmi-tē How to pronounce Walter Mitty (audio) \

Definition of Walter Mitty

: a commonplace unadventurous person who seeks escape from reality through daydreaming

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Other Words from Walter Mitty

Walter Mittyish \ ˌwȯl-​tər-​ˈmi-​tē-​ish How to pronounce Walter Mittyish (audio) \ adjective

Did You Know?

The original "Walter Mitty" was created by humorist James Thurber, who wrote the famous story "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty." In Walter's real life, he is a reticent, henpecked proofreader befuddled by everyday life. But in his fantasies, Walter imagines himself as various daring and heroic characters. Thurber's popular story, which was first published in The New Yorker in 1939, was later made into a movie. Walter Mitty has since become the eponym for dreamers who imagine themselves in dramatic or heroic situations.

First Known Use of Walter Mitty

1947, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for Walter Mitty

Walter Mitty, daydreaming hero of a story by James Thurber

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Time Traveler for Walter Mitty

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The first known use of Walter Mitty was in 1947

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Cite this Entry

“Walter Mitty.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Sep. 2020.

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