English Idiom – Pipe dream.

Meaning – An idea or plan that is very unlikely to happen. An impossibility or an unrealistic dream. A pipe dream is a dream that is probably not going to happen, because it is just a fantasy.

This idiom originated as a reference to the dreams experienced by opium pipe smokers.

Related Idioms:

  • Chasing Rainbows (idiom) – To be pursuing pipe dreams.
  • La-la Land (slang) – An imaginary place where people are out of touch with reality. 


When could you use this idiom?

  • You are sharing your fantasies with friends.
  • Somebody who you know has set themselves unrealistic goals.
  • You are trying to convince your friend that they can make their dreams come true – their hopes are not just pipe dreams!


  • “I wish that I could achieve world peace, but I know it is nothing more than just a pipe dream.”

In The News:

Taxing wealth: a necessary step, or unachievable pipe dream?


  • Is there an idiom like this in your country?

What is an idiom?

An idiom is a word or phrase that is not taken literally.  An idiom is an expression that cannot be understood from the meanings of its individual words, but has a separate meaning of its own.

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