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castle in the air

a fanciful or impractical notion or hope; daydream.
Also called air castle, castle in Spain.
Origin of castle in the air
First recorded in 1570-80 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for air castle
Historical Examples
  • It was not easy to take up the old routine and forget the air castle.

    Saxe Holm's Stories Helen Hunt Jackson
  • All daydreaming builds this air castle; all ambition has this as its goal.

    The Nervous Housewife Abraham Myerson
  • "I should like to be the queen of something more substantial than an air castle," she replied laughingly.

    A Fair Mystery

    Bertha M. Clay
  • This was enough to cause nearly every one to look upon it as a bubble or air castle.

  • Moreover, to teach school had long been her secret ambition, the solid foundation of many an air castle.

    Rim o' the World B. M. Bower
  • But, if you value your peace of mind, do not build too gorgeous an air castle on the foundation of this printed thing.

    The Fiction Factory John Milton Edwards
  • You are not talking airship now, Stanny; it's an air castle you have in mind.

  • The dreamer of the future will not dare to build an air castle without at least an option on the site.

    Major Prophets of To-Day Edwin E. Slosson
  • He passes to-day in building an air castle for to-morrow, or in writing yesterday's elegy.

    An English Grammar W. M. Baskervill and J. W. Sewell
  • Peter's heart fell at this, for he had a half hope that he could yet bring himself to demolish his father's air castle.

    The Come Back Carolyn Wells
British Dictionary definitions for air castle

castle in the air

a hope or desire unlikely to be realized; daydream
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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