windmill

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throw (one's) bonnet over the windmill

To act in a deranged, reckless, or unconventional manner. Refers to the eponymous character of the novel Don Quixote, who tosses his hat over a windmill (which he imagines is a giant) as a challenge to it. Sarah is always trying to buck social conventions, throwing her bonnet over the windmill whenever possible. I know you like to take risks in business, but don't throw your bonnet over the windmill.
See also: bonnet, throw, windmill

fling (one's) bonnet over the windmill

To act in a deranged, reckless, or unconventional manner. Refers to the eponymous character of the novel Don Quixote, who tosses his hat over a windmill (which he imagines is a giant) as a challenge to it. Sarah is always trying to buck social conventions, flinging her bonnet over the windmill whenever possible. I know you like to take risks in business, but don't fling your bonnet over the windmill.
See also: bonnet, fling, windmill

throw (one's) cap over the windmill

To act in a deranged, reckless, or unconventional manner. Refers to the eponymous character of the novel Don Quixote, who tosses his hat over a windmill (which he imagines is a giant) as a challenge to it. Sarah is always trying to buck social conventions, throwing her cap over the windmill whenever possible. I know you like to take risks in business, but don't throw your cap over the windmill.
See also: cap, throw, windmill

fling (one's) cap over the windmill

To act in a deranged, reckless, or unconventional manner. Refers to the eponymous character of the novel Don Quixote, who tosses his hat over a windmill (which he imagines is a giant) as a challenge to it. Sarah is always trying to buck social conventions, flinging her cap over the windmill whenever possible. I know you like to take risks in business, but don't fling your cap over the windmill.
See also: cap, fling, windmill

throw (one's) hat over the windmill

To act in a deranged, reckless, or unconventional manner. Refers to the eponymous character of the novel Don Quixote, who tosses his hat over a windmill (which he imagines is a giant) as a challenge to it. Sarah is always trying to buck social conventions, throwing her hat over the windmill whenever possible. I know you like to take risks in business, but don't throw your hat over the windmill.
See also: hat, throw, windmill

fling (one's) hat over the windmill

To act in a deranged, reckless, or unconventional manner. Refers to the eponymous character of the novel Don Quixote, who tosses his hat over a windmill (which he imagines is a giant) as a challenge to it. Sarah is always trying to buck social conventions, flinging her hat over the windmill whenever possible. I know you like to take risks in business, but don't fling your hat over the windmill.
See also: fling, hat, windmill

have windmills in (one's) head

To be lost in dreams and illusions, rather than rooted in reality. I appreciate Sal's ability to see beyond what is happening right now, but some of the wild ideas he comes up with make me wonder if he has windmills in his head!
See also: have, head, windmill

not know A from a windmill

To be stupid. It references the vaguely similar shape of the letter A and a windmill. How do you manage to burn pasta? It's like you don't know A from a windmill.
See also: know, not, windmill

tilt at windmills

Fig. to fight battles with imaginary enemies; to fight against unimportant enemies or issues. (As with the fictional character, Don Quixote, who attacked windmills.) Aren't you too smart to go around tilting at windmills? I'm not going to fight this issue. I've wasted too much of my life tilting at windmills.
See also: tilt, windmill

tilt at windmills

  (literary)
to waste time trying to deal with enemies or problems that do not exist We're not tilting at windmills here. If we don't do something about these problems, our environment may be in serious danger.
See also: tilt, windmill

tilt at windmills

Engage in conflict with an imagined opponent, pursue a vain goal, as in Trying to reform campaign financing in this legislature is tilting at windmills. This metaphoric expression alludes to the hero of Miguel de Cervantes' Don Quixote (1605), who rides with his lance at full tilt (poised to strike) against a row of windmills, which he mistakes for evil giants.
See also: tilt, windmill

tilt at windmills

To confront and engage in conflict with an imagined opponent or threat.
See also: tilt, windmill

tilt at windmills

Fight imaginary enemies or fight a battle that can't be won. “Tilt” means “joust,” as in mounted knights fighting each other with lances. In Miguel Cervantes's Don Quixote, the Man of La Mancha came upon a row of windmills and took them for giants, their flailing arms ready to do battle. Despite his squire Sancho Panza's pointing out that they were windmills, Don Quote set his lance, spurred his steed Rocinante, and charged the “enemy.” Alas for the Knight of the Woeful Countenance, the windmills prevailed. Anyone who similarly takes on a losing cause is tilting at windmills.
See also: tilt, windmill