quixotic

adjective
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 quixotic (audio) \ adjective
quixotically \ kwik-​ˈsä-​ti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce quixotic (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 Fortnite creator Epic Games quixotic quest to upend the way Apple does business in the app store has proved to be a success. Chris Morris, Fortune, 10 Sep. 2021 In my conversations with her colleagues, Harden’s overarching idea was almost universally described as both beautiful and hopelessly quixotic. Gideon Lewis-kraus, The New Yorker, 6 Sep. 2021 For a very longtime fan of this deliciously quixotic and prescient artistic enterprise, now owned by the Cirque du Soleil, the first shock to be had Sunday night was the small size of the house. Chris Jones, chicagotribune.com, 23 Aug. 2021 The region had recently been devastated by the famine brought about by the Great Leap Forward, Mao Zedong’s quixotic attempt to advance communism in China through a crash program of industrialization. Matt Seaton, The New York Review of Books, 21 Aug. 2021 In another era of TV, Rutherford Falls would have surely been mostly centered on Nathan, his quixotic attempts to get people to care about history, and the shenanigans of his quirky friends. Kathryn Vanarendonk, Vulture, 13 Aug. 2021 And yet, such is the measure of this quiet and quixotic athlete, that even in the wake of his sloppy departure, people tried to clean up after him. Mitch Albom, Detroit Free Press, 8 Aug. 2021 Alden Global Financial succeeded in its long campaign to buy another major newspaper company, beating back a quixotic challenge by a Maryland billionaire. Rick Hutzell, Time, 29 July 2021 But few American filmmakers of his generation have been quite as keen to pursue difficult philosophical questions or to stretch cinema in new, quixotic directions. Jake Coyle, Star Tribune, 28 July 2021

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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Dictionary Entries Near quixotic

quixote

quixotic

quixotize

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Statistics for quixotic

Last Updated

13 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Quixotic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/quixotic. Accessed 20 Sep. 2021.

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on quixotic

Nglish: Translation of quixotic for Spanish Speakers

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