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

Quintana is a pro and figures to work his way back toward consistency, which admittedly sounds a little like wishful thinking. David Haugh, chicagotribune.com, "Kyle Hendricks' mastery of Giants suggests sabbatical over for 'The Professor'," 10 July 2018 To put it another way, prophecies of Trump’s downfall still look like wishful thinking. T.a. Frank, The Hive, "Why Trump May Yet Escape the Michael Cohen Freak Show," 20 Apr. 2018 There’s an element of wishful thinking, an excess of optimism, and maybe even a misjudgment. Rick Gladstone, New York Times, "Trump and Kim May Define ‘Korea Denuclearization’ Quite Differently," 10 June 2018 But the Yugoslav wars of the 1990s made that seem like wishful thinking. Larry Wolff, WSJ, "Croatia Offers Redemption for Eastern Europe," 13 July 2018 Free flights for life, though, are more wishful thinking than aviation fact. Mark Ellwood, Condé Nast Traveler, "What Happens to Babies Born on Planes," 26 Oct. 2018 Expectations that the travel ban will be its first and last result are wishful thinking — thanks to the Supreme Court’s tone-deaf and morally obtuse judgment Tuesday. Aziz Huq, Vox, "The travel ban decision echoes of some of the worst Supreme Court decisions in history," 26 June 2018 On the other hand, hanging spare truck tires filled with sand bags off your BMP infantry fighting vehicle might be wishful thinking. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Why Iraqi and Syrian Tanks Are Wearing This Weird MacGyvered Armor," 20 Jan. 2016 This is wishful thinking, confusing what activists are hankering for with what marginal Democratic voters might want. The Economist, "Fork in the roadShould the party move to the left or to the centre?," 12 July 2018

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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Last Updated

13 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for wishful thinking

The first known use of wishful thinking was in 1932

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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

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).


excited commotion or publicity

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