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Quixotic

kwik-sot-ik

Extravagantly chivalrous and romantic, impractical, impulsive and unpredictable.

Origin

Those of us, who do not remember Alonso Quijano, remember Don Quixote de le Mancha, the name Quijano took upon his decision to leave for his adventure seeking quest. Quixote is a retired man, whose rational is mostly in place; however, when it comes to chivalric romances (which he abundantly reads) Quixote loses his common sense and turns each and every fabrication into a shining gem of truth. A simple inn is a castle to Quixote, the innkeeper is the castle’s lord; windmills are dangerous giants and a neighboring farm girl who isn’t aware of his name- is designated to be his ‘lady love’.

This is Don Quixote- a harmless man whose connection to reality is, at best, loose.

This great adjective, dated back to 1791, stems from the eternal character by Cervantes, first published in 1605.

Why this word?

Being a fanatic reader, words coined following great classical works are my personal gems. On many occasions there is just too much to be said of a person, a too long adjectival list; in these cases, using characters whose nature is spread throughout hundreds of pages- is exactly what we need.

You must know a person who has a crazy story, every day. People who say “I was almost killed by a huge tiger!” after being playfully jumped by a domestic kitten or “that is it; I see the white light at the end of the tunnel” when their fever is slightly over the norm. These people are not liars, they just have a tendency to romanticize every thought they have.

Let’s admit it- we are all being quixotic every now and then.

How to use quixotic?

This is just another adjective. I wouldn’t use it to describe sayings, works or people who are intentionally romanticized but rather to describe those who believe their exaggerations to be the absolute truth, those who would say “maybe it really was a kitten, but I swear it was as big as a dog!”

“Everything David says is quixotic; you can’t really believe a word”

“Dana has a quixotic tendency; she means no harm but you should deduce at least 30% of everything she says if you want to get to the truth…”

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Written by Victoria Sheinkin

Victoria Sheinkin is a writer, content editor, translator and chief editor for UnusedWords.com. Speaking three and a half languages, she holds two BAs from the Tel Aviv university- Communication and jounalism, English literature and linguistics.

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