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See more synonyms for pipe-dream on Thesaurus.com
verb (used without object), pipe-dreamed or pipe-dreamt, pipe-dream·ing.
  1. to indulge in pipe dreams; fantasize.
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pipe dream

  1. any fantastic notion, hope, or story: Her plans for a movie career are just a pipe dream.
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Origin of pipe dream

An Americanism dating back to 1895–1900
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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Examples from the Web for pipe-dream

Historical Examples

  • "Sounds like a pipe-dream," commented Matt, when his chum had finished.

    Motor Matt's Triumph, or, Three Speeds Forward

    Stanley R. Matthews

  • "Go ahead and have a good time with your pipe-dream, Abe," Morris said.

  • The notion that the trombonist had given a signal he derided as an "Old Sleuth pipe-dream."

    Average Jones

    Samuel Hopkins Adams

  • But how among countless suggestions is a "cause" to know the difference between a true invention and a pipe-dream?

    A Preface to Politics

    Walter Lippmann

  • I have been trying to believe that what he told me isn't altogether a pipe-dream, but it sounds mightily like one.

British Dictionary definitions for pipe-dream

pipe dream

  1. a fanciful or impossible plan or hope
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Word Origin

alluding to dreams produced by smoking an opium pipe
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

Word Origin and History for pipe-dream

pipe dream


1870; the sort of improbable fantasy one has while smoking opium; from pipe (n.1) + dream (n.). Old English pipdream meant "piping."

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with pipe-dream

pipe dream

A fantastic notion or vain hope, as in I'd love to have one home in the mountains and another at the seashore, but that's just a pipe dream. Alluding to the fantasies induced by smoking an opium pipe, this term has been used more loosely since the late 1800s.

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.