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The act of thinking that or hoping that something will happen or be the case when in reality it is unlikely. Ugh, look at this traffic! I thought we would be on time today, but I guess that was just wishful thinking.
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
believing that something is true or that something will happen just because one wishes that it were true or would happen. Hoping for a car as a birthday present is just wishful thinking. Your parents can't afford it. Mary thinks that she is going to get a big raise, but that's wishful thinking. Her boss is so tight with money.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
Interpreting matters as one would like them to be, as opposed to what they really are. For example, Matthew wanted to be a basketball player, but with his height that was wishful thinking. This term comes from Freudian psychology of the mid-1920s and soon began to be used more loosely.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
ˌwishful ˈthinkingthe belief that something you want to happen is happening or will happen, although this is actually not true or is very unlikely: Prices seem to have stopped rising in the shops, or is that just wishful thinking on my part?
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017
Interpreting events, facts, or words as one would like them to be as opposed to what they are; also, fantasizing as actual something that is not. This term comes from Freudian psychology of about 1925, but the idea is much older. “Thy wish was father, Harry, to that thought,” wrote Shakespeare (Henry IV, Part 2, 4.5), an expression that practically became a proverb. The current cliché was used by F. H. Brennan (Memo to a Firing Squad, 1943): “We’re lousy with wishful thinkers.”
The Dictionary of Clichés by Christine Ammer Copyright © 2013 by Christine Ammer