• WordNet 3.6
    • adj quixotic not sensible about practical matters; idealistic and unrealistic "as quixotic as a restoration of medieval knighthood","a romantic disregard for money","a wild-eyed dream of a world state"
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: Don Quixote, by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, has been translated into more languages than any book outside of the Bible.
    • Quixotic Like Don Quixote; romantic to extravagance; prone to pursue unrealizable goals; absurdly chivalric; apt to be deluded. See also quixotism. "Feats of quixotic gallantry."
    • Quixotic Like the deeds of Don Quixote; ridiculously impractical; unachievable; extravagantly romantic; doomed to failure; as, a quixotic quest. "The word “ quixotic ” . . . has entered the common language, with the meaning “hopelessly naive and idealistic,” “ridiculously impractical,” “doomed to fail.” That this epithet can be used now in an exclusively pejorative sense not only shows that we have ceased to read Cervantes and to understand his character, but more fundamentally it reveals that our culture has drifted away from its spiritual roots."
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • quixotic Pertaining to or resembling Don Quixote, the hero of Cervantes's celebrated romance of that name; hence, extravagantly or absurdly romantic; striving for an unattainable or impracticable ideal; characterized by futile self-devotion; visionary.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • adj Quixotic kwiks-ot′ik like Don Quixote, the knight-errant in the great romance of Cervantes (1547-1616), extravagantly romantic, aiming at an impossible ideal
    • ***


  • W. H. Auden
    “Every autobiography is concerned with two characters, a Don Quixote, the Ego, and a Sancho Panza, the Self.”


In literature:

This particular deed was quixotic, enormously unusual; a deed assuredly without precedent in the annals of the Five Towns.
"The Card, A Story Of Adventure In The Five Towns" by Arnold Bennett
What is the high quixotic splendid call?
"The Art Of The Moving Picture" by Vachel Lindsay
As it is, our young friend cannot avoid the consequences of his quixotic action.
"Aunt Jane's Nieces at Work" by Edith Van Dyne
The signs of struggle were visible, and yet the quixotic element in his own nature helped him to respond to that in hers.
"The Wild Olive" by Basil King
Sitting for Don Quixote.
"Punch, or the London Charivari, Volume 100, May 9, 1891" by Various
Did ever Frenchmen sympathize absolutely with Don Quixote?
"Since Cézanne" by Clive Bell
He was not quite sure but that, instead of "Gil Blas," he ought to have selected "Don Quixote.
"Some Private Views" by James Payn
In his "Introduction to Don Quixote," Heine tells us how that book, the first that he ever read, was his mental companion through life.
"A Librarian's Open Shelf" by Arthur E. Bostwick
But it would have been one of the most quixotic things ever done.
"The Testing of Diana Mallory" by Mrs. Humphry Ward
I have told you the story of Don Quixote della Mancha.
"The Waters of Edera" by Louise de la Ramée, a.k.a. Ouida

In poetry:

A sort of Jezebel crusader,
Like Don Quixote nothing stayed her, -
No wonder people shied eggs at her,
She seemed to like to watch 'em splatter,
And stood like wild things when at bay
So sort of fearless, old and gray.
"Carrie Nation" by Willard Wattles

In news:

The way most people refer to Don Quixote makes you wonder if they have actually read the book.
Traveling circus 'Inside a Broken Clock' brings Tom Waits songs to life on Don Quixote's stage.
When I made my first visit to the "We the People" site on Friday to see how the secession petitions were doing, I discovered that dozens of even more quixotic and imaginative petition drives are underway.
At the annual industry party hosted by Photo Nights Boston - a nonprofit collective of New England photogs and artists - a diverse mix of creative types mingled freely in Quixote 's open, minimalist space in Allston.
A Lewis County judge has denied an appeal by business owners who object to Olympia's approval of Quixote Village, a development for the homeless on Thurston County land next to industrial property.
Quixote 's True Blue.
Gilliam's ' Quixote ' problems continue.
Environmental artist Christo continues his quixotic quest to create art for art's sake.
Coutu's quixotic quest for Congress.
Coutu's quixotic quest for Congress Southeastern Connecticut News, Sports, Weather and Video The Day newspaper.
One Influential Scientist's Quixotic Mission to Prove ESP Exists.
Tweeting All The Way, Buddy Roemer Continues His Quixotic White House Bid.
Quixotic bounty hunter, secret agent, or hero.
The Quixotic Quest to Avoid Olympic Spoilers on Social Media.
A quixotic attempt to re-create my favorite scene from Sneakers.

In science:

Due to the non-decoupling of the perturbative field equations, a generic study of their solution is a quixotic task.
Chern-Simons Modified General Relativity
In some cases that quest borders on the quixotic.
Gravitational Lensing: Recent Progress and Future Goals - Conference Summary
At first glance, the study of the very first stars in the universe might appear to be a rather academic and even quixotic endeavor.
Towards Population III: The Collapse and Fragmentation of Primordial Gas