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Alternative forms[edit]


Derived from Spanish Quixote, the surname of Don Quixote, the title character in the novel by Miguel de Cervantes, +‎ -ic.



quixotic (comparative more quixotic, superlative most quixotic)

  1. Resembling or characteristic of the Spanish chivalric hero Don Quixote; possessed with or resulting from the desire to do noble and romantic deeds, without thought of realism and practicality; exceedingly idealistic.
    • 1911 January 7, G[ilbert] K[eith] Chesterton, “The Sign of the Broken Sword”, in The Innocence of Father Brown, London, New York, N.Y.: Cassell and Company, published 1911, →OCLC:
      Olivier, as you know, was quixotic, and would not permit a secret service and spies.
    • 2012 June 21, Alessandra Stanley, “So Sayeth the Anchorman”, in The New York Times[1], →ISSN:
      The message is not subliminal. [] Characters aren’t just quixotic, they cite Cervantes to one another.
    • 2017 May 29, Mariana Alessandri, “In Praise of Lost Causes”, in The New York Times[2], →ISSN:
      The war triggered in [Miguel de] Unamuno the realization that, in hopeless times, quixotic lunacy could save people from the paralysis that often accompanies defeatism.
    • 2022 April 17, Stephen Burgen, “Barcelona honours Gabriel García Márquez with new library”, in The Observer[3], →ISSN:
      In the digital age, building a new library filled with old-fashioned printed books seems idealistic, almost quixotic.

Usage notes[edit]

  • Although the term is derived from the name of the character Don Quixote, the letters ⟨qu⟩ and ⟨x⟩ are both read as is usual for English spelling (/kw/ and /ks/), possibly due to analogy with exotic. In Don Quixote, by contrast, the pronunciation more closely resembles the modern Spanish (/k/ and /h~x/).

Derived terms[edit]

Related terms[edit]


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quixotic (plural quixotics)

  1. (rare) A quixotic person or sentiment.
    • 1975, Michael B. Schiffer, John H. House, The Cache River Archeological Project, page 179:
      The cultural quixotics attribute the change to inscrutable "cultural factors," which is tantamount to abandoning altogether the search for explanation.