quix·​ot·​ic | \ kwik-ˈsä-tik How to pronounce quixotic (audio) \

Definition of quixotic

1 : foolishly impractical especially in the pursuit of ideals especially : marked by rash lofty romantic ideas or extravagantly chivalrous action

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Other Words from quixotic

quixotical \ kwik-​ˈsä-​ti-​kəl How to pronounce quixotical (audio) \ adjective
quixotically \ kwik-​ˈsä-​ti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce quixotically (audio) \ adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for quixotic

imaginary, fanciful, visionary, fantastic, chimerical, quixotic mean unreal or unbelievable. imaginary applies to something which is fictitious and purely the product of one's imagination. an imaginary desert isle fanciful suggests the free play of the imagination. a teller of fanciful stories visionary stresses impracticality or incapability of realization. visionary schemes fantastic implies incredibility or strangeness beyond belief. a fantastic world inhabited by monsters chimerical combines the implication of visionary and fantastic. chimerical dreams of future progress quixotic implies a devotion to romantic or chivalrous ideals unrestrained by ordinary prudence and common sense. a quixotic crusade

Quixotic Has Roots in Literature

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.

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
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Recent Examples on the Web This is as quixotic a move as trying to ban American tweens from getting on TikTok. Michael Taylor, ExpressNews.com, "Taylor: Trump’s assault on socially responsible investing," 2 Dec. 2020 Weighed down by engineering challenges and without any big investments from airlines, electric flight has remained a quixotic experiment for decades. Paul Douglas, Star Tribune, "Giving Thanks for Quiet Weather and a Mild Bias Into December," 25 Nov. 2020 Their transcendent mythic identities and quixotic quests for immortality create elusive goals for these perpeturally grasping monarchs. Fortune, "Secluded and deluded: Trump’s post-election actions show a mad-monarch mindset," 24 Nov. 2020 Macron, meanwhile, is embarking on a somewhat quixotic quest at home. Washington Post, "Macron vs. Erdogan is a fight both leaders want," 27 Oct. 2020 Which is to say that building an alternative to Google these days can feel like a quixotic undertaking. Brian Barrett, Wired, "Ghostery’s New Search Engine Will Be Entirely Ad-Free," 18 Nov. 2020 Even now, the Ökohaus concept sounds quixotic, even fanciful. Megan O’grady, New York Times, "In Berlin, Mysterious Dwellings Hidden Amid the Trees," 10 Nov. 2020 In 2016, Stone helped launch a quixotic group called Women Vote Trump, and nowadays can often be found tweeting her support for the President using the hashtag #CrookedJoeBiden. Anna Louie Sussman, The New Yorker, "The Loneliness of the Pro-Choice Republican Woman," 30 Oct. 2020 His billion-dollar-plus quixotic presidential primary campaign resulted in a mere 49 delegates. Joseph Simonson, Washington Examiner, "Bloomberg's $100M Florida gambit fails," 4 Nov. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'quixotic.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of quixotic

1718, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for quixotic

Don Quixote

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Time Traveler for quixotic

Time Traveler

The first known use of quixotic was in 1718

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Last Updated

5 Dec 2020

Cite this Entry

“Quixotic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/quixotic. Accessed 5 Dec. 2020.

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More Definitions for quixotic


How to pronounce quixotic (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of quixotic

formal : hopeful or romantic in a way that is not practical

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Nglish: Translation of quixotic for Spanish Speakers

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