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historical usage of quixotic
By 1644 Quixote was used as a common noun, that is, “a person inspired by lofty and chivalrous but impractical ideals.” The derivative adjective quixotic, which applies to both persons and actions, appears in the first half of the 18th century. Quixotic has always been ambivalent in its meaning, whether “extravagantly chivalrous or romantic; visionary or impractical,” or “impulsive and often rashly unpredictable.”
The original 17th-century spelling that Cervantes used was Quixote, at that time pronounced kiˈshoʊ-ti (French Quichotte and Italian Chisciotte still maintain the sh- sound). In 1815 the Real Academia Española (Royal Spanish Academy) officially changed the spellings of words with x to j to match the change of the sh- sound to the modern Castilian x- sound, as in Johann Sebastian Bach (bɑx) or the Scots pronunciation of loch (lɒx).
To an American ear, the Don in Don Quixote may come across as the man’s first name, but that is certainly not the case here. In Spanish, don is used as a title of respect and as a common noun meaning “gentleman,” a most appropriate description for Cervantes’ iconic hero. Don, which ultimately derives from Latin dominus “lord, master,” is also familiar as the courtesy title of the head of a crime family or syndicate, especially the Mafia (as in Don Corleone). Don evokes courtesy and respect in England as well, where it is used colloquially at Oxbridge for a head, fellow, or tutor of a college.
OTHER WORDS FROM quixotic
Words nearby quixotic
Example sentences from the Web for quixotic
Resolve that this can and should be the year that zero preschoolers go hungry based on your quixotic grandstanding.
Of course, his quixotic crusade to defund Obamacare will surely fail, but it made for some good TV.Highlight Reel: 11 Craziest Moments From Ted Cruz’s Quasi-Filibuster|Ben Jacobs, The Daily Beast Video|September 25, 2013|DAILY BEAST
In November 2007, though, Dutschke seemed to realize his campaign was quixotic.
Even after Newtown, swarms of commentators warned that Obama would be a fool to take on such a quixotic cause.Gun Control Fight Finally Lays to Rest the Obama-as-Timid Meme|Peter Beinart|April 20, 2013|DAILY BEAST
But along comes Hank Greenberg, AIG's colorful former chief, pushing them to join his quixotic lawsuit.AIG May Sue the Government For An Insufficiently Generous Bailout|Megan McArdle|January 8, 2013|DAILY BEAST
The journey back, vague and Quixotic as were his intentions, was performed with a far lighter heart than his setting forth.A Group of Noble Dames|Thomas Hardy
It was mad and quixotic and absurd, but it had a certain light of nobility.None Other Gods|Robert Hugh Benson
Since high motives were ineffectual, Quixotic, ought he to discard them and come down to the ordinary level?Gulmore, The Boss|Frank Harris
He had a Quixotic sub-consciousness that he was saving her from his kind by making her promise formally.The Grey Wig: Stories and Novelettes|Israel Zangwill
I told her that you were Quixotic in some things, and you might agree.His Unknown Wife|Louis Tracy