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a pipe dream

Meaning: A pipe dream is a plan or a dream for the future that could never come true or be achieved.

For example:

  • The idea of a perfect world in which everyone lives in peace and harmony is just a pipe dream.

  • Pipe dreams only ever come true in the movies.

Origin: Metaphorical, and probably related to the fact that the drug opium can be smoked in a pipe, and when it is taken people often have very pleasant, dream-like experiences.

Quick Quiz:

Which of these plans would be a pipe dream for most people?
  1. travelling to your country's capital city
  2. playing football for Manchester United
  3. watching the Olympic Games on television

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