since 1997, the world's premier FREE website for learners + teachers of English
ESL Downloads - click 4 FREE stuff
Idioms

a pipe dream

This page is about the idiom 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?

a. travelling to your country's capital city

b. playing football for Manchester United

c. watching the Olympic Games on television

Idiom of the Day

Contributor: Matt Errey