quixotic (adj.)

of persons, "extravagantly chivalrous, absurdly romantic," abstractly, "striving for an unattainable or impractical ideal," 1791, from Don Quixote, the romantic, impractical hero of Cervantes' satirical novel "Don Quixote de la Mancha" (1605; in English translation by 1620). Don Quixote as the type of anyone attempting the impossible or holding visionary but impossible ideals is in English from 1670s.

His name literally means "thigh," also "a cuisse" (a piece of armor for the thigh), in Modern Spanish quijote, from Latin coxa "hip" (see coxa). Related: Quixotical; quixotically.

Cervantes smiled Spain's chivalry away;

     A single laugh demolish'd the right arm

Of his own country; — seldom since that day

     Has Spain had heroes. 

[Byron, "Don Juan"]

updated on August 31, 2021

Definitions of quixotic from WordNet

quixotic (adj.)
not sensible about practical matters; idealistic and unrealistic;
as quixotic as a restoration of medieval knighthood
Synonyms: romantic / wild-eyed
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