November 04, 2007
quixotic (adjective)
\kwik-SAH-tik\ Hear it!
What does it mean?
: impractical especially in the foolish pursuit of ideals
How do you use it?
The newly elected mayor assured us he was not being quixotic when he promised a voice in government for everyone.
Are you a word wiz?

"Quixotic" comes from the name of a character in a famous novel. Which one of these authors do you think wrote the book that is the source of the word "quixotic"?

The word "quixotic" comes from the novel known familiarly as Don Quixote by Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes. Published in two parts, in 1605 and 1615, it tells the story of Alonso Quijana, an idealist who calls himself "Don Quixote" and sets out to right the wrongs of the world, as did the knights in the days of chivalry. His attempts turn into comic misadventures and he returns home a tired old man. The novel was translated into English and gave rise to "Quixote" as a synonym for an impractical idealist. "Quixotic" dates from the early 1800s and describes the "impossible dreams" of modern Don Quixotes.
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