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, over, 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, over, 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, over, 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, over, 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, over, 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, over, 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

To waste time fighting enemies or trying to resolve issues that are imaginary, not as important, or impossible to overcome. The CEO seems to be tilting at windmills lately, flinging accusations at members of the press for no reason. The company keeps tilting at windmills with its insistence on implementing a service structure that serves no immediate purpose.
See also: tilt, 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

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

LITERARY
If someone tilts at windmills, they waste their time on problems which do not exist or are unimportant. Of course with their petition and their campaign, they are all tilting at windmills. His critics considered him a tiresome idealist who spent an idle life tilting at windmills. Note: This expression refers to the novel `Don Quixote' (1605) by the Spanish writer Cervantes, in which Don Quixote sees some windmills, thinks that they are giants, and tries to attack them.
See also: tilt, windmill

tilt at windmills

attack imaginary enemies or evils.
In Cervantes' 17th-century mock-chivalric novel Don Quixote, the eponymous hero attacked windmills in the deluded belief that they were giants.
See also: tilt, windmill

fling (or throw) your cap over the windmill(s)

act recklessly or unconventionally. dated
1933 John Galsworthy One More River I suggest that both of you felt it would be mad to fling your caps over the windmill like that?
See also: cap, fling, over, windmill

tilt at ˈwindmills

waste your energy attacking imaginary enemies: For some reason he thinks everyone is out to get him, but he’s really just tilting at windmills.This expression comes from Cervantes’ novel Don Quixote, in which the hero thought that the windmills he saw were giants and tried to fight them.
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, to

To pursue a fruitless course or attack nonexistent enemies. This expression comes from Cervantes’s famous hero, Don Quixote, who rides with his lance at full tilt (poised to attack) upon a row of windmills, which he mistakes for evil giants (Don Quixote, Part 1, chapter 8; 1605). The image has caught the imagination of subsequent writers to the present day.
See also: tilt

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
References in periodicals archive ?
An illustration of Windmill Hills, Gateshead, in 1891
Jeanette McGarry, owner of Berkswell Windmill, said the decision flew in the face of planning guidelines and could prove to be the thin end of the wedge, threatening the future of a wildlife-rich habitat.
The windmill continued to operate until 1948 and a major restoration project, costing PS200,000, was completed at the site in 2013.
Keith believes the windmill was built sometime between 1780 and 1800 and when restoring the building into this amazing home, he was keen to add as much character as possible.
Councillor Norma Wilburn, Stockton Council's Cabinet member for arts, leisure and culture, said: "Windmill Park is already a much-loved play area so I have no doubt the new windmill tower feature will be a very popular addition.
The Second World War had only just ended the last time the millstones in Berkswell Windmill ground flour.
She added: "This wondrous mill was built in 1826 - although records dating back to 1700 refer to a windmill on this site - and is probably the only mill for miles which still has all of its original machinery.
As we roared past the Rotunda I was interested to see a very tall windmill among semi-derelict property.
Icons of the rural landscape, windmill towers and functional wind-powered pumps still dot the byways of rural America.
Springfield, OR, February 27, 2013 --(PR.com)-- For the first time in 30 years, management has changed at the popular Windmill Inn of Roseburg.
Haaretz is reporting that the iconic windmill in the Yemin Moshe neighborhood will be restored to working order after over a century of it just kind of sitting there.
[USPRwire, Tue Feb 07 2012] Managing Director of Windmill Leasing, Keith Townsend pledged his financial support to help fix the damaged windmill at Avoncroft after local news reported that stormy weather had caused one of the sails to break off and damage the lower part of the roof as it fell.
[ClickPress, Tue Feb 07 2012] Managing Director of Windmill Leasing, Keith Townsend pledged his financial support to help fix the damaged windmill at Avoncroft after local news reported that stormy weather had caused one of the sails to break off and damage the lower part of the roof as it fell.
A WELL-KNOWN landmark on the north Norfolk coast, Cley Windmill has a long and colourful history - even starring alongside Elizabeth Taylor in the 1949 film Conspirator.