Walter Mitty


Wal·​ter Mit·​ty ˌwȯl-tər-ˈmi-tē How to pronounce Walter Mitty (audio)
: a commonplace unadventurous person who seeks escape from reality through daydreaming
Walter Mittyish 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.

Word History


Walter Mitty, daydreaming hero of a story by James Thurber

First Known Use

1947, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of Walter Mitty was in 1947


Dictionary Entries Near Walter Mitty

Cite this Entry

“Walter Mitty.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Dec. 2022.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

Odd Habits and Quirks

  • image1926873504
  • Which of the following best describes an easily irritated person?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.