day·​mare ˈdā-ˌmer How to pronounce daymare (audio)
: a nightmarish fantasy experienced while awake

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Long ago, the word nightmare designated an evil spirit that made its victims feel like they were suffocating in their sleep (prompting physician-botanist William Turner to introduce "a good remedy agaynst the stranglyng of the nyght mare" in 1562). By the early 1700s, the Age of Reason had arrived, nightmares were bad dreams, and "daymare" was a logically analogous choice when English speakers sought a word for a frightening and uncontrollable fantasy, a run-away daydream. And since the 1800s, when Charles Dickens wrote "a monstrous load that I was obliged to bear, a daymare that there was no possibility of breaking in, a weight that brooded on my wits" in David Copperfield, we’ve been using "daymare" figuratively. For example, today we might refer to "a logistical daymare."

Examples of daymare in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Like Andy Warhol, who began as a commercial illustrator, Kruger found a rich vein in the consumerist daymare of pop culture, in those glossy pages filled with feminine archetypes used to sell an idea of us to ourselves. Megan O’Grady, New York Times, 19 Oct. 2020 The idealism of the day takes on a daymare quality. Kerry Pieri, Harper's BAZAAR, 6 June 2012

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'daymare.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


day + -mare (as in nightmare)

First Known Use

1737, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of daymare was in 1737


Dictionary Entries Near daymare

Cite this Entry

“Daymare.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Dec. 2023.

Medical Definition


: a nightmarish fantasy experienced while awake

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