pipe dream

You might be convinced that one day you’ll buy a private island and turn it into a cat sanctuary — but your parents will probably call it a pipe dream, or an unrealistic, wild scheme.

Impossible dreams and plans are pipe dreams. Imagining that life will be like a Disney movie is one kind of pipe dream, and fantasizing about becoming a famous rock star is another kind of pipe dream. Some pipe dreams do come true, but most of them won’t ever be more than a crazy idea. This term dates from the 1870s, and it originally referred to the strange, hallucinatory dreams that opium smokers had.

Definitions of pipe dream
  1. noun

    a fantastic but vain hope (from fantasies induced by the opium pipe)

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    type of:

    fantasy, phantasy

    imagination unrestricted by reality

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