quixotic

adjective
quix·​ot·​ic | \ kwik-ˈsä-tik \

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 \ adjective
quixotically \ kwik-​ˈsä-​ti-​k(ə-​)lē \ 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

His current venture may be his most quixotic, given that Maryland Democrats have only twice nominated gubernatorial candidates who had never held public office. Paul Schwartzman, Washington Post, "Alec Ross: Tech guru sets his sights on new horizon, becoming Maryland governor," 12 June 2018 Pearse is not known to shy away from adventures or quixotic endeavors. Paola Singer, ELLE Decor, "In an Expat Enclave of Rural Uruguay, a Couple Finds Tranquility at Home," 1 Dec. 2018 At first, his quest to overthrow the government whose leaders have ruled Armenia since the 1990s felt quixotic. Washington Post, "Armenia’s opposition leader named prime minister, and his supporters erupt in cheers," 12 May 2018 This prompted his quixotic run for the party leadership. Joseph C. Sternberg, WSJ, "Europeans Wish They Had a Midterm Election," 8 Nov. 2018 Again, in theory and in a vacuum, an admirable and important goal; in practice, likely a quixotic one. Dylan Matthews, Vox, "Billionaires are spending their fortunes reshaping America’s schools. It isn’t working.," 30 Oct. 2018 At first glance, this might seem like a quixotic notion at best. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "The Developer Turning 'Skyrim' Into a Text-Based Adventure," 13 Nov. 2017 At times the soft-spoken, bespectacled former prosecutor’s effort to get that message out has seemed quixotic in a Washington engulfed by questions about whether the president’s associates colluded with Russia. Sadie Gurman, WSJ, "Rod Rosenstein Sees Crime-Fighting as Justice’s Overlooked Strong Suit," 19 Oct. 2018 The king's project of training future leaders for the Middle East also seems quixotic at a time when dynastic regimes all over the region are being challenged by popular revolutions. Richard Mcgill Murphy, Town & Country, "Desert Prep," 17 Dec. 2012

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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Dictionary Entries near quixotic

quivery

qui vive

quixote

quixotic

quixotize

quiz

quizee

Statistics for quixotic

Last Updated

10 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for quixotic

The first known use of quixotic was in 1718

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More Definitions for quixotic

quixotic

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of quixotic

: hopeful or romantic in a way that is not practical

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More from Merriam-Webster on quixotic

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with quixotic

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for quixotic

Spanish Central: Translation of quixotic

Nglish: Translation of quixotic for Spanish Speakers

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