Pipe Dream: Definition and Examples of the Term “Pipe Dream”

You may have frequently heard the term Pipe dream used in English conversation, you may have also wondered what this term means. We are now going to take a look at the meaning of this phrase and see how it can be used in day to day conversation. We will also look at a little bit of the history behind the phrase and where it originally came from.

Pipe Dream

Pipe Dream Meaning

The meaning of the term Pipe dream refers to a goal, plan or aspiration that is seemingly impossible or very difficult to achieve.

Origin of this idiom

The term Pipe dream finds its origins in the 19th century when people would smoke opiates through a pipe. When they were high from the drugs, they would talk about impossible dreams and ambitions which they never truly believed they would reach, therefore coining the term a Pipe dream.

“Pipe Dream” Examples

Examples in Statements

To see how the term Pipe dream can work in our day to day speech, here are some examples of the phrase being used in sentences.

  • “My mother always wanted to own a bakery but it was a bit of a pipe dream as she can’t bake.” 

This is a statement being made by a son about his other.

  • I would love to travel the world, but with a family of five, it is more of a pipe dream than anything else.” 

Here is a statement being made by a man about his aspiration of travelling the world.

More useful examples:

  • I have this pipe dream about being emperor of the universe.
  • Her plans for a movie career were nothing but a pipe dream.
  • Father’s plan to build a forest cabin by the lake was just a pipe dream.
  • His scheme for building a perpetual – motion machine is just a pipe dream.
  • For me, a pipe dream to travel to The Moon.

Conversation Examples

In order to see how the idiom Pipe dream can fit into a conversation, here are some examples showing its use within them

The first conversation is taking place between a teacher and a student.

  • Person 1: “What do you plan to do when you leave school?”
  • Person 2: “I would love to become a lawyer but it’s a pipe dream.”
  • Person 1: “Why do you think that?”
  • Person 2: “I don’t think I will get good enough marks on my exams.”

This next conversation is happening between two friends.

  • Person 1: “I love to swim.”
  • Person 2: “Yes and you are so good at it, why not train to enter the Olympics?”
  • Person 1: “I have always wanted to but my dad says it’s just a pipe dream.”

Other Ways to Say the Idiom

There are many other ways in which you can express the meaning of the term Pipe dream, here are some examples of other things you might say.

  • Wishful thinking
  • Impossible dream
  • Utopian dream

Pipe Dream Meaning | Image

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