Quixotism

Quixotism

Quixotism is the description of a person or an act that is caught up in the romance of noble deeds and the pursuit of unreachable goals. It also serves to describe an idealism without regard to practicality. An impulsive person or act can be regarded as quixotic.

Quixotism is usually related to "over-idealism", meaning an idealism that doesn't take the consequences into account. It is also related to naïve romanticism and to utopianism.

Origin

Quixotism as a term or a quality appeared after the publication of "El ingenioso hidalgo don Quixote de la Mancha" in 1605. The hero of this novel, that is written by the Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes, dreams up a romantic ideal world which he believes to be real, and acts on this idealism, which most famously leads him into imaginary fights with windmills that he regards as giants.

Already in the 17th century the term Quixote was used to describe a person that does not distinguish between reality and imagination. The poet John Cleveland wrote in 1644, in his book "The character of a London diurnall"::"The Quixotes of this Age fight with the Wind-mills of their owne Heads" [http://www.phrases.org.uk/meanings/tilting-at-windmills.html]

The word Quixotism is mentioned, for the first time, in "Pulpit Popery, True Popery" (1688)::"All the Heroical Fictions of Ecclesiastical Quixotism"

Usage

:"At worst his scruples must have been quixotic, not malicious" (Louis Auchincloss)

A song by the Red Hot Chili Peppers is titled "Quixoticelixir."


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  • Quixotism — Quix ot*ism (kw[i^]ks [o^]t*[i^]z m), n. That form of delusion which leads to extravagant and absurd undertakings or sacrifices in obedience to a morbidly romantic ideal of duty or honor, as illustrated by the exploits of Don Quixote in knight… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • quixotism — [kwiks′ətrēkwik′sə tiz΄əm] n. 1. quixotic character or practice 2. a quixotic act or idea: Also quixotry [kwiks′ətrē] …   English World dictionary

  • quixotism — quixotic ► ADJECTIVE ▪ impractically idealistic or fanciful. DERIVATIVES quixotically adverb quixotism noun. ORIGIN from the name of Don Quixote, hero of Cervantes romance (1605 15) …   English terms dictionary

  • quixotism — noun see quixote …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • quixotism — /kwik seuh tiz euhm/, n. 1. (sometimes cap.) quixotic character or practice. 2. a quixotic idea or act. [1660 70; (DON) QUIXOTE + ISM] * * * …   Universalium

  • quixotism — noun /ˈkwɪksəˌtɪzm/ a) That form of delusion which leads to extravagant and absurd undertakings or sacrifices in obedience to a morbidly romantic ideal of duty or honor, as illustrated by the exploits of Don Quixote in knight errantry. b)… …   Wiktionary

  • quixotism — quix·ot·ism || kwɪksÉ™tɪzm n. instance of quixotic behavior, act of ideological chivalry or romance …   English contemporary dictionary

  • quixotism — n 1. impracticability, unrealisticness, fancifulness, romanticism; imagination, invention, whimsy; futility, uselessness, ineffectiveness; knight errantry, chivalrousness, gallantry, courage, valor; fool hardiness, impulsiveness, rashness,… …   A Note on the Style of the synonym finder

  • quixotism — quix·o·tism …   English syllables

  • quixotism — /ˈkwɪksətɪzəm/ (say kwiksuhtizuhm) noun 1. (sometimes upper case) quixotic character or practice. 2. a quixotic idea or act …   Australian English dictionary


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