wishful thinking


Definition of wishful thinking

: the attribution of reality to what one wishes to be true or the tenuous justification of what one wants to believe

Examples of wishful thinking in a Sentence

The idea that the enemy will immediately surrender is nothing more than wishful thinking.

Recent Examples on the Web

Seeing as most of the United States doesn’t have these requirements, either, O’Rourke’s gun-control idea seems like more like wishful thinking than a viable solution. Katherine Timpf, National Review, "San Francisco Deemed the NRA a ‘Domestic Terrorist Organization’. Here’s Why That’s Wrong.," 4 Sep. 2019 Long, slow decline Some argue the sudden optimism about labor is just wishful thinking. oregonlive, "Labor disputes across Oregon heat up on Labor Day," 1 Sep. 2019 The insightful dialogue often sounds like wishful thinking. The Economist, "The alchemy of adolescence, in 1990s New York," 1 Aug. 2019 No amount of wishful thinking across these last two weeks of the season can change that. Tara Sullivan, BostonGlobe.com, "Moments to savor for Red Sox have been precious and few," 7 Sep. 2019 Because it is based on wishful thinking, of course—something even Trump has now been forced to acknowledge. John Cassidy, The New Yorker, "Trump’s Trade War Could Make the Trump Recession a Reality," 15 Aug. 2019 The wishful thinking usually starts when the Southeast San Diego resident — a bronze medal winner in the 200-meter run in 1948 — hears another tale about the financial opportunities open to today’s Olympic contenders. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Recalling 3 San Diego Olympians in their own words," 28 July 2019 Biden immediately went on the offense, blasting it as wishful thinking that wasn’t up-front about its costs. Casey Tolan, The Mercury News, "Kamala Harris on defense at Democratic debate as rivals hit her over health care, criminal justice," 31 July 2019 Avoid the tendency to try and read between the lines or entertain wishful thinking when someone is just being honest with you. Tribune Content Agency, oregonlive.com, "Horoscope for June 26, 2019: Happy birthday Chris O’Donnell; Cancer, roll with the punches," 26 June 2019

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

See More

First Known Use of wishful thinking

1932, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about wishful thinking

Statistics for wishful thinking

Last Updated

20 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for wishful thinking

The first known use of wishful thinking was in 1932

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for wishful thinking

wishful thinking


English Language Learners Definition of wishful thinking

: an attitude or belief that something you want to happen will happen even though it is not likely or possible

More from Merriam-Webster on wishful thinking

Nglish: Translation of wishful thinking for Spanish Speakers

Comments on wishful thinking

What made you want to look up wishful thinking? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to be made up of

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Word Puzzles

  • alt 57589b2b4c6a3
  • Which answer pairs best with each of the following words? living, estate, club, music, road, mile
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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