A Word A Day : Quixotic

Word of 6th July 2007: A Word A Day-Quixotic


( Adjective )

Quixotic (kwik SOT ik): romantic or idealistic to a foolish or impractical degree

• The word quixotic is derived from the name of the Don Quixote, the protagonist of Miguel de Cervantes's classic seventeenth-century novel. Don Quixote had read so many romances about the golden age of chivalry that he set out to become a knight himself and have chivalrous adventures. Instead, his romantic idealism almost invariably got him into trouble. To be quixotic is to be as foolish or impractical as Don Quixote in pursuing an ideal.

• For many years Mr. Morris had led a quixotic effort to repeal the federal income tax.

• The political organization had one been a powerful force in Washington, but its membership had dwindled and its causes had become increasingly quixotic.

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