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 This could be wishful thinking on the president's part. Savannah Behrmann, USA TODAY, "Donald Trump bashes Brad Pitt, Joe Biden and polls during Colorado rally," 20 Feb. 2020 Thus, picking a spot to wait and hope some would choose that same place to feed and tuck in for the night was wishful thinking at best, and maybe shading the dark recesses of insanity, at worst. Steve Meyer, Anchorage Daily News, "A long-awaited visit from whitetail ptarmigan leads to a moment captured forever," 26 Jan. 2020 Even the payroll numbers represent wishful thinking. Frederick Melo, Twin Cities, "Seven things to know about the 2020 St. Paul city budget," 15 Dec. 2019 That sounded to me a bit like wishful thinking from a distinguished British wine writer, given that the market, here in the United States at least, remains transfixed by petillant naturel, orange and natural wines. Washington Post, "At a third of the price of fine white burgundy, sherry deserves a place at your table," 10 Jan. 2020 That has turned into nothing but wishful thinking, if not hyperbole, for the football program. Jeff Seidel, Detroit Free Press, "Michigan football needs to rewrite fight song to reflect reality: No longer champions," 3 Jan. 2020 Such wishful thinking, of course, permeates the present Trump administration, which routinely trashes the science in order to escape the regulatory consequences of accepting the science. The Economist, "Climate, freedom and denial: What “Green Thatcherism” teaches us today," 22 Nov. 2019 The second possible reason is wishful thinking, topped with a dollop of nostalgia. Paul Tough, The Atlantic, "The Myth of the Wealthy Welder," 13 Sep. 2019 Here again, reality trumps Caldara’s wishful thinking. David Schlissel, The Denver Post, "Guest Commentary: Reality of carbon capture for Xcel plants not even close to proponents’ wishful thinking," 5 Aug. 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.

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First Known Use of wishful thinking

1932, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for wishful thinking

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The first known use of wishful thinking was in 1932

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Statistics for wishful thinking

Last Updated

24 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Wishful thinking.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wishful%20thinking. Accessed 27 Feb. 2020.

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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

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