上海彩票秒速赛车

上海足球彩票开奖结果

Search The Word Detective and our family of websites:

this is the easiest way to find a column on a particular word or phrase.

to search for a specific phrase, put it between quotation marks.

 

 

 

 

 

七星彩连线专业版走势图

we deeply appreciate the erudition and energy of our commenters. your comments frequently make an invaluable contribution to the story of words and phrases in everyday usage over many years.

上海彩票秒速赛车please note that comments are moderated, and will sometimes take a few days to appear.

 

 

shameless pleading

 

 

 

 

世界杯晋级之路

I have the dim neighbor.  Anybody got a spare horse?

上海彩票秒速赛车dear word detective:  i don’t know why, but lately i’ve been unable to rid my consciousness of the phrase “tilting at windmills.”  unable to, and hardly more willing to, find it anywhere, i turn to you and your wonderful staff for help. — richard clow.

上海彩票秒速赛车that’s a good question, but i’m afraid my wonderful staff won’t be of much help, as they are occupied (quite literally) at the moment by an infestation of fleas.  gus the cat is perched atop the frigidaire scratching furiously, and pokie the dog is apparently so intent on chewing her tail that she hasn’t answered the phone all week.  but i’ll do my best to carry on without them.

“to tilt at windmills” is a venerable english idiom meaning to pursue an unrealistic,  impractical, or impossible goal, or to battle imaginary enemies.  in current usage, “tilting at windmills” carries connotations of engaging in a noble but unrealistic (usually wildly unrealistic) effort, an endeavor which may garner the admiration of onlookers but which usually strikes other people as delusional (“rather eccentric … inclined to tilt at windmills,” agatha christie, death on the nile, 1937).  the phrase is especially popular in the us media during the presidential election season every four years, when at least two or three candidates pop up who have something to say but exactly zero chances of actually winning.

上海彩票秒速赛车the first occurrence of this phrase found in print so far (in the form “fight with windmills”) dates to 1644, which is remarkable because the source of the phrase had first been published only a few years earlier, in 1605, and in spanish to boot.  the relative rapidity of the spread of the phrase in english is a tribute to the enormous popularity of its source, the novel “don quixote” (in full, “the ingenious hidalgo don quixote of la mancha”) by miguel de cervantes saavedra, first published in english in 1620.   in cervantes’ story, a retired eccentric obsessed with the ideals of medieval chivalry imagines himself a knight and sets out on a quest for adventure, which is made considerably more dramatic by the fact that “don quixote” (as the hero has dubbed himself) misinterprets just about everything he encounters.  in the relevant passage early on in quixote’s sojourn, he and his companion sancho panza (a dim neighbor he has recruited as his squire) encounter some windmills, which don quixote charges on his horse, his knight’s lance extended, believing them to be not windmills, but malevolent giants.

had they actually been giants, of course, quixote’s effort would have been noble but probably futile.  the fact that they were actually windmills made the episode a perfect metaphor for an effort that is noble and futile but also deluded and a bit silly.  “tilt” in the phrase “tilting at windmills” is an antiquated sense of the verb “to tilt” meaning “to engage in combat,” specifically for two mounted knights to charge each other with lances extended.

the enduring popularity of “don quixote” is also the source of our english adjective “quixotic” (usually pronounced “kwik-sah-tik,” in contrast to “quixote,” which is usually pronounced “kee-hoh-tee”).  “quixotic,” as you would expect, means “foolishly impractical especially in the pursuit of ideals,” but also carries connotations of “unpredictable” and “fickle.”

6 comments to Tilting at windmills

Leave a Reply

  

  

  

You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Please support
The Word Detective


unclesamsmaller
by Subscribing.

 

Follow us on Twitter!

 

 

 

万丰国际赌场电话

400+ pages of science questions answered and explained for kids -- and adults!

FROM ALTOIDS TO ZIMA, by Evan Morris

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

七星彩有哪些规律 七星彩机选号码参考及分析 七星彩查梦 七星彩机选号码软件 七星彩杀码规律 七星彩机选号码投注 七星彩机选摇一摇 七星彩杀号准确 七星彩杀4码定胆精准 七星彩杀号定胆最准确