Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.

wishful thinking

interpretation of facts, actions, words, etc., as one would like them to be rather than as they really are; imagining as actual what is not.
Origin of wishful thinking
First recorded in 1925-30
Related forms
wishful thinker, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for wishful thinking
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • I hoped that I was correct; maybe it was wishful thinking, but I claim that right.

    Highways in Hiding George Oliver Smith
  • Subconsciously he knew that this, at the very best, was wishful thinking.

    Planet of the Gods Robert Moore Williams
  • He remembered doubtfully a talk with Joe Bass the evening before—anything more than a flurry of wishful thinking?

  • It's wishful thinking and we cannot permit such daydreaming in our precarious condition.

    Shock Absorber E.G. von Wald
  • This impression was generally discredited, people were surfeited with optimism; they felt our reports were wishful thinking.

British Dictionary definitions for wishful thinking

wishful thinking

the erroneous belief that one's wishes are in accordance with reality
Derived Forms
wishful thinker, noun
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
Cite This Source
Idioms and Phrases with wishful thinking

wishful thinking

Interpreting matters as one would like them to be, as opposed to what they really are. For example, Matthew wanted to be a basketball player, but with his height that was wishful thinking. This term comes from Freudian psychology of the mid-1920s and soon began to be used more loosely.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for wishful thinking

Word Value for wishful

Scrabble Words With Friends