Word of the Day : April 8, 2011

cloud-cuckoo-land

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noun kloud-KOO-koo-land

Definition

: a realm of fantasy or of whimsical or foolish behavior

Did You Know?

In Aristophanes' 5th century B.C. comedy TheBirds, Peisthetaerus (a human) convinces the king of the birds and his followers to help him build an ideal city juxtaposed between heaven and earth. They plan to intercept all of the sacrifices rising from the earth to the gods on Olympus, thereby starving the gods into cooperating with them. The newly built city is dubbed "Nephelokokkygia," (from "nephos," meaning "cloud," and "kokkyx," the native European cuckoo). By the late 19th century, English speakers had translated the town's name as "Cloud-Cuckoo-Land" and had begun using it as a general term for any similarly unreal or whimsical place or situation. These days, "cloud-cuckoo-land" makes occasional appearances in U.S. contexts but is far more common in British use.


Examples

If the boss really thinks he can up productivity and increase profit after the company is downsized, he is living in cloud-cuckoo-land.

"I vastly prefer to live in my own cloud cuckoo land. Anything else sends me into such depression that I can't get out of bed in the morning and the only thing that cheers me up is Mum's ginger biscuits." -- From Elizabeth George's 2010 novel This Body of Death



Test Your Memory

What is the meaning of "legerity," our Word of the Day from March 26, 2011? The answer is ...


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