Someone or something quixotic is like the book character Don Quixote: idealistic or optimistic in a foolish, impractical way.
quick SOD ick
Part of speech:
(Adjectives are describing words, like “large” or “late.”
They can be used in two ways:
1. Right before a noun, as in “quixotic expectations.”
2. After a linking verb, as in "Their expectations were quixotic.”)
quixotically, quixotical, quixotism/quixoticism
A note on capital letters:
If "Laputan" and "Panglossian" are capitalized because they come from the proper names of literary characters just like "quixotic" does, then why isn't "quixotic" capitalized, too? Unlike the others, "quixotic" has been used often enough to see a relaxation of the rules. That is, we started treating it like any other common adjective instead of a proper one.
How to use it:
Talk about quixotic people and personalities, quixotic dreams and ambitions and hopes, quixotic quests and attempts, quixotic projects and plans, etc.
Some of us are too jaded to muster up much excitement about the latest quixotic politician who promises to change the nation.
If your interviewer (or your date!) hasn't called you back after a couple of weeks, and you assume it's because he doesn't want to seem too anxious, you might be a little quixotic.
Look away from the screen to explain the definition in your own words. You’ll know you understand what "quixotic" means when you can explain it without saying "idealistic" or "unrealistic."
Think of a hopeful but silly wish of yours, and fill in the blanks: "I (no longer /still) harbor the quixotic (belief / notion/ hope / expectation / wish) that _____."
Example: "I still harbor the quixotic hope that my little daughter will be swayed by my logical arguments regarding vegetables, teeth brushing, etc."
Spend at least 20 seconds occupying your mind with the game and quote below. Then try the review questions. Don’t go straight to the review now—let your working memory empty out first.
Playing With Words:
This month, we're playing with some fascinating thematic word lists assembled by Stephen Chrisomalis, an English language expert over at The Phrontistery who kindly gave permission for me to use his work. (Check out his site; you will definitely enjoy it!)
Try a question each day, and see the right answers here the following day--or if you can't wait, follow the link to Stephen's list to dig out the answers yourself. Have fun!
Using your knowledge of science words, come up with the correct terms for each scientific instrument below:
- A cy__meter is an instrument for counting cells. - A d___meter is an instrument for measuring hardness of substances. - A f____meter is an instrument for measuring underwater depth using sound.
A cytometer is an instrument for counting cells.
A durometer is an instrument for measuring hardness of substances.
A fathometer is an instrument for measuring underwater depth using sound.
Try this one today:
Three of the following words are real, and one is totally made up (by me.) Can you spot the fake? Any guesses about what the real ones mean?
Can't wait until tomorrow for the right answers? Check out Stephen's full list of genuine, long words at the Phrontistery.
A Point Well Made:
Carl Sagan: “Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.”
1. The opposite of QUIXOTIC is
2. When _____, the research proposal suddenly didn't seem quite so quixotic.
A. it was given full approval and funding
B. reactions to it from the review committee were mixed
C. it was interpreted as a joke by the first few friends who read through it
Answers are below.
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Make Your Point is crafted with love and brought to you each day for free by Mrs. Liesl Johnson, M.Ed., a word lover, learning enthusiast, and private tutor of reading and writing in the verdant little town of Hilo, Hawaii. For writing tips, online learning, essay guidance, and more, please visit www.HiloTutor.com.
Disclaimer: Word meanings presented here are expressed in plain language and are limited to common, useful applications only. Readers interested in authoritative and multiple definitions of words are encouraged to check a dictionary. Likewise, word meanings, usage, and pronunciations are limited to American English; these elements may vary across world Englishes.
Today we're looking at "quixotic," a fairly gentle word for dreamers and hopeless idealists.
We've also considered some stronger, harsher terms for these folks: someone La______ is extremely absurd and impractical, and someone Pan________ is hopeful and confident about everything in a very unrealistic way.
Could you recall why both of those adjectives are always capitalized? Hint: both of those words, plus today's, come from literature.
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