tilt

1
[ tilt ]
/ tɪlt /

verb (used with object)

verb (used without object)

noun

Idioms

    (at) full tilt. full tilt.
    tilt at windmills, to contend against imaginary opponents or injustices.Also fight with windmills.

Origin of tilt

1
1300–50; Middle English tylten to upset, tumble < Scandinavian; compare dialectal Norwegian tylta to tiptoe, tylten unsteady; akin to Old English tealt unsteady, tealtian to totter, amble, Middle Dutch touteren to sway
Related formstilt·a·ble, adjectivetilt·er, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for tilt at windmills (1 of 2)

tilt

1
/ (tɪlt) /

verb

noun

Derived Formstilter, noun

Word Origin for tilt

Old English tealtian; related to Dutch touteren to totter, Norwegian tylta to tiptoe, tylten unsteady

British Dictionary definitions for tilt at windmills (2 of 2)

tilt

2
/ (tɪlt) /

noun

an awning or canopy, usually of canvas, for a boat, booth, etc

verb

(tr) to cover or provide with a tilt

Word Origin for tilt

Old English teld; related to Old High German zelt tent, Old Norse tjald tent
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

Idioms and Phrases with tilt at windmills

tilt at windmills


Engage in conflict with an imagined opponent, pursue a vain goal, as in Trying to reform campaign financing in this legislature is tilting at windmills. This metaphoric expression alludes to the hero of Miguel de Cervantes' Don Quixote (1605), who rides with his lance at full tilt (poised to strike) against a row of windmills, which he mistakes for evil giants.

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