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.

Nearby words

  1. wish on,
  2. wish-wash,
  3. wishbone,
  4. wishbone boom,
  5. wishful,
  6. wishfully,
  7. wishing well,
  8. wisht,
  9. wishy-washy,
  10. wiskott-aldrich syndrome

Origin of wishful thinking

First recorded in 1925–30

Related formswishful thinker, noun

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for wishful thinking

wishful thinking


the erroneous belief that one's wishes are in accordance with reality
Derived Formswishful 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

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 Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.