Fighting against windmills

Tilt at windmills

Idiom   literary

To fight enemies who do not really exist

“Tilting at windmills” is a literary English idiom that means attacking imaginary enemies.

The expression is derived from the 1605 novel Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes, and the word “tilt” in this context comes from jousting or tilting: A combat or encounter (for exercise or sport) between two armed men on horseback, with lances or similar weapons, the aim of each being to throw his opponent from the saddle (OED).

Related idioms include going on a wild goose chase and chasing rainbows. All three phrases make the point that an objective is illusory, impractical, or impossible. As such, people who tilt at windmills, pursue wild geese or chase rainbows are frequently said to be ‘off/away with the fairies’ and ‘in a world of their own’!

Is “fight windmills” idiom common in modern spoken English?

Is “fight windmills” ( In meaning of fighting imaginary enemies) idiom common in modern spoken English? And what is the modern equivalent for the idiom if not.

Don Quixote and his squire Sancho Panza

The expression “Pursue wild geese or chase rainbows” suggests the idea of pursuing impractical or unattainable goals. It implies chasing after things that may be elusive or unrealistic.

“Fighting windmills” is an idiom derived from the classic novel “Don Quixote” by Miguel de Cervantes. It means engaging in a hopeless or imaginary battle, often against powerful or insurmountable foes.

While there are similarities in the sense that both expressions involve pursuing something difficult or perhaps impossible, “fighting windmills” specifically conveys the idea of battling against imagined or exaggerated adversaries. The phrase you provided about pursuing wild geese or chasing rainbows broadens the scope to include any impractical goals.

Don Quixote is a novel written by the Spanish author Miguel de Cervantes. The full title of the novel is “The Ingenious Gentleman Don Quixote of La Mancha” (in Spanish: “El ingenioso hidalgo don Quijote de la Mancha”). It was first published in two parts, with the first part released in 1605 and the second in 1615.

The story revolves around a man named Alonso Quixano, who becomes obsessed with reading chivalric romance novels. Eventually, he loses his sanity and decides to become a knight-errant under the name Don Quixote. Accompanied by his loyal squire, Sancho Panza, Don Quixote embarks on various adventures, often interpreting ordinary things as fantastical threats, such as mistaking windmills for giants.

The novel is considered one of the greatest works of fiction and is a classic of world literature. Don Quixote is known for its exploration of the nature of reality, illusion, and the power of imagination, making it a rich and influential piece of literature.

The saying and the concept of “Fighting against windmills” or “Vechten tegen de bierkaai” highlight the uncertainty of outcomes in various endeavors. It encourages us to be open to unexpected possibilities and not dismiss a pursuit solely based on initial appearances or perceived challenges. Life is full of twists and turns, and sometimes efforts that may seem quixotic can lead to meaningful and unexpected results. It’s a reminder to approach challenges with a degree of openness and resilience, recognizing that the ultimate outcome is not always predetermined.

The Knighthood Don Quixote

Delusional state Don Quixote

Ed Davey admits regret at not meeting Alan Bates sooner | LBC

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Young Japanese Girl Turns Into Old Man – Just For Laughs Gags

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9 mei 2011

Cute, young, Asian girl is touring the city and needs help navigating. People passing by are happy to help out the pretty tourist, who is touting a massive backpack. But as soon as they look up from the map, she’s disappeared. In her place, mysteriously, is an old Japanese man wearing the exact same backpack. Prank victims look around for the girl they had just spoken to, but it seems that she’s magically transformed!