any of various machines for grinding, pumping, etc., driven by the force of the wind acting upon a number of vanes or sails.
Aeronautics. a small air turbine with blades, like those of an airplane propeller, exposed on a moving aircraft and driven by the air, used to operate gasoline pumps, radio apparatus, etc.
an imaginary opponent, wrong, etc. (in allusion to Cervantes' Don Quixote): to tilt at windmills.
Aeronautics. (of a propeller engine or turbojet engine) to rotate or cause to rotate solely under the force of a passing airstream.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use windmill in a sentence
Especially a romantic one, who isn’t unhinged or tilting at windmills.Christopher Lloyd is still playing characters who are unhinged — and larger than life | Karen Heller | August 26, 2021 | Washington Post
Colleagues have cautioned him against chasing windmills in a quest that McConnell himself describes as “a little bit quixotic.”The quest to learn if our brain’s mutations affect mental health | Roxanne Khamsi | August 25, 2021 | MIT Technology Review
There’s even up, in Yorkshire, a working windmill that actually produces flour.
Adding to the citizens’ misery are rolling electrical blackouts, possibly related to the fact that the state legislature has banned all sources of electricity except windmills and 9-volt batteries.
Tim Hwang recognizes he is tilting at windmills here, trillion-dollar windmills.Does Advertising Actually Work? (Part 2: Digital) (Ep. 441) | Stephen J. Dubner | November 26, 2020 | Freakonomics
Up next: a windmill prototype, which is a few months from being finished.
But the American Dream is such a pretty windmill to chase that it's not a problem to get new arrivals to join in the pursuit.
They are, across the board, quixotic characters hacking at the windmill of language.
We are of as much consequence to an army, as wind to a windmill: the wings can't be put in motion without us.The Battle of Hexham; | George Colman
And on a slight rise, but so concealed from him by the willows that only the great wings showed, stood the windmill.The Amazing Interlude | Mary Roberts Rinehart
The mills were presumably driven for the most part by water, though we have a reference to a windmill as early as the year 833.
The windmill shown in the sketch is one that will always face the wind, and it never requires adjustment.The Boy Mechanic, Book 2 | Various
With your colors to wear, I shall have the honor of breaking a lance against the biggest windmill in the world.In Search of the Unknown | Robert W. Chambers
British Dictionary definitions for windmill
a machine for grinding or pumping driven by a set of adjustable vanes or sails that are caused to turn by the force of the wind
the set of vanes or sails that drives such a mill
Also called: whirligig British a toy consisting of plastic or paper vanes attached to a stick in such a manner that they revolve like the sails of a windmill: US and Canadian name: pinwheel
an imaginary opponent or evil (esp in the phrase tilt at or fight windmills)
a small air-driven propeller fitted to a light aircraft to drive auxiliary equipment: Compare ram-air turbine
an informal name for helicopter
an informal name for propeller (def. 1)
to move or cause to move like the arms of a windmill
an informal name for accommodation bill
(intr) (of an aircraft propeller, rotor of a turbine, etc) to rotate as a result of the force of a current of air rather than under power
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
Other Idioms and Phrases with windmill
see tilt at windmills.
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.