Pie In The Sky: Learn the Definition of this Idiom with Useful Examples

Last Updated on March 19, 2020

The idiomatic phrase “pie in the sky” is one you may hear or see a lot in everyday conversation and writing. Here you will find the definition of this phrase and the explanation of its origin. You will also find examples of how to use this phrase properly in conversations/statements and learn other ways to say the same thing using a more literal expression.

Pie In The Sky

Pie In The Sky Meaning

The idiom “pie in the sky” can be defined as something that sounds great but is more than likely unattainable.

Origin of this idiomatic expression

This phrase comes from the 20th century where it was used in a song parody. In 1911, a member of a labor organization by the name of Joe Hill first used the phrase in his song “The Preacher and the Slave.” The phrase became popular in the 1930s during the Great Depression. Since then it has been a widely used idiom in the English language.

Pie In The Sky Examples

Examples in Statements

A statement made in the local newspaper by a politician about his opponent.

  • “I don’t agree with a lot of what she promises. To me, its a lot of pie in the sky promises that she can’t fulfill.”

A statement made in an entertainment magazine by a celebrity.

  • “As a child, my parents told me my dreams were nothing but a pie in the sky. All I can say now is ‘Hey, look mom! I made it!'”

Examples in Conversations

A conversation between two high school students regarding the upcoming student council elections.

  • Student 1: Some of the things the candidates for student body President were promising sound great!
  • Student 2: Yeah, but most of them will never happen.
  • Student 1: You’re right. It’s just some pie in the sky dream.

A conversation between a father and his daughter.

  • Daughter: Daddy, I want a puppy.
  • Father: We can’t have a puppy right now.
  • Daughter: Why not?
  • Father: Because we live in an apartment and the rules say we can’t have one.
  • Daughter: Well, that’s just great. I guess my dreams of being a dog owner are pie in the sky.

Other examples:

  • Building a baseball field downtown is just pie in the sky right now.
  • His dream to become President is just a pie in the sky.
  • To complete the task in one day a pie in the sky.
  • His plans for converting his house into an antique shop are just pie in the sky.
  • Their ideas about reforming the prison system are just pie in the sky.

Other Ways to Say “Pie In The Sky”

Like all idiomatic phrases, there are other ways to say “pie in the sky” and still convey the same message. Other ways to say this phrase include:

  • It sounds great, but it’s not likely to happen.
  • It sounds amazing but highly unlikely.
  • It’s unlikely, but you can keep wishing.

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