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 president seems to be tilting at windmills lately, levelling accusations at foreign leaders who have done nothing wrong. 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

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 ?
In 2002, the windmills were recognized as a national heritage site by Iran.
As Detroit's windmills were gradually abandoned, the deserted structures eventually came to be seen as haunted.
In many parts of the Netherlands today, Bosman windmills are used to drain the flat lands into canals that empty into the North Sea.
Aberconwy Tory MP Guto Bebb complained to NWP about the blog in 2014, and those who were targeted set up a "Victims of Oscar" support group of which Mr and Mrs Windmill were founding members.
A windmill was thought to stand on the land that would now lie between the start of Letch Lane and Piper Knowle Road and also one in Hartburn Village.
In the landmark designation, ASME also cited the windmills for the self-regulating capability of their systems, which automatically adjusted the wheel and blade angle to maintain constant speed and power in varying winds.
Windmills were used for sawing wood in towns and grinding corn in the country, among other uses.
Neil Howes, chairman of the Friends of the Berkswell Windmill, said: "I am delighted that the mill will be open to visitors once again.
Such windmills were certainly built in early American settlements in the East, but westward expansion in the mid-1800s gave rise to a whole new design paradigm.
Kieran Conneely, a chartered surveyor from Swaisland Harris Associates, which is advertising the property, said the windmill had "a long history" in the city.
The sails at Berkswell Windmill are due to be fitted early next year, as part of a five-year project to bring the 185-year-old mill back to its former Georgian glory.
This is kind of hard to do when it's windy," said Mike Crowell, the crew's 59-year-old boss, who said his crews sometimes work on as many as nine windmills each day.
Visitors to the Dee Festival are being asked to build as many small sand castles as possible on the beach at Talacre and place windmills on top as part of the Windmill Wonders event on Friday, August 28.
As part of the deal, 20 windmills will be established in the lands belonging to Finca Monte Grande in Arecibo, leased to the Land Authority.
Windmills like Fulwell were abandoned because steam, and then electric, power allowed grain to be milled more efficiently and cheaply.