Definition of dream in English:

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Pronunciation: /driːm/


1A series of thoughts, images, and sensations occurring in a person’s mind during sleep: I had a recurrent dream about falling from great heights
More example sentences
  • When she did sleep, her dreams were plagued with images of the Prince, fears of what he could - and probably would - do to her.
  • He had been happily sleeping without any dreams, without any images, just pitch blackness.
  • They all sank to the floor beginning their faze of sleep, dreams appearing in the minds of all but one.
fantasy, nightmare;
vision, hallucination
1.1 [in singular] A state of mind in which someone is or seems to be unaware of their immediate surroundings: he had been walking around in a dream all day
More example sentences
  • Characters float through scenes as if in a dream, yet always conscious of their surroundings.
  • Today, she was going to forget who she was, and live in a dream.
  • The auras of time, spirits, and even ghosts filled him, and his mind felt light and airy, as if in a dream.
daydream, reverie, trance, daze, stupor, haze, hypnotic state, half-conscious state, state of unreality;
Scottish  dwam
2A cherished aspiration, ambition, or ideal: I fulfilled a childhood dream when I became champion
More example sentences
  • Everyday, people search the housing market for the ultimate designer properties, hoping to find the ideal home of their dreams.
  • To be part of this event which was a childhood memory is a dream come true.
  • With the prize of a thousand pounds Ann plans to make a dream come true and take a trip to the United States with her family.
ambition, aspiration, hope;
goal, design, plan, aim, object, objective, grail, holy grail, target, intention, intent;
desire, wish, notion, yearning;
daydream, fantasy;
illusion, delusion, pipe dream, chimera;
(dreams) castles in the air, castles in Spain
informal pie in the sky
2.1An unrealistic or self-deluding fantasy: maybe he could get a job and earn some money—but he knew this was just a dream
More example sentences
  • Everyone here is a wisp of a person, broken down by time, unrealistic dreams, or their own personal TKO's.
  • The show business is about selling dreams and fantasies.
  • It made me think of the most un-realistic dreams and hopes that I had.
2.2A person or thing perceived as wonderful or perfect: her new man’s an absolute dream it was a dream of a backhand
More example sentences
  • She's already a dream of a writer.
  • Taut leatherette seating, snug booths, it's a dream of a diner for cafe connoisseurs.
  • It's a dream of a place.
delight, joy, marvel, wonder, gem, treasure, pleasure;
beauty, vision, vision of loveliness, pleasure to behold

verb (past and past participle dreamed /drɛmt/ /driːmd/ or dreamt /drɛmt/)

[no object]
1Experience dreams during sleep: I dreamed about her last night
More example sentences
  • She cried herself to sleep and dreamed about the same nightmare over and over.
  • When she was awake, she thought about it and when she was sleeping, she dreamed about it.
  • As you awake from your troubled sleep, you realize that the group you'd dreamed about is deep in the woods.
1.1 [with object] See, hear, or feel (something) in a dream: maybe you dreamed it [with clause]: I dreamed that I was going to be executed
More example sentences
  • Maybe I dreamed it, or perhaps the dream was what the shop sold, a fantasy of southern warmth conjured up like a charm in the chilly north.
  • She thought that maybe she had dreamt the whole thing but her discarded prom dress lying on the floor told her it was not so.
  • Then again, he never saw everything, or maybe he had dreamt it and not remembered.
have a dream, have dreams, have a nightmare, have nightmares
2Indulge in daydreams or fantasies about something greatly desired: she had dreamed of a trip to America
More example sentences
  • I imagined the Caribbean Island I'd always dreamed of, but my fantasies were quickly destroyed.
  • ‘It's what you dream about, and it's going to be a fantastic experience,’ she said.
  • So, you know, I have to get out of here, and I hope life treats you kind, and, you know, I hope you have all you've ever dreamed of.
fantasize about, daydream about;
wish for, hope for, long for, yearn for, hunger for, hanker after, set one's heart on;
aspire to, desire to, wish to;
aim for, seek to, have as one's goal/aim, set one's sights on
literary thirst for/after
3 [with negative] Contemplate the possibility of doing something or that something might be the case: I wouldn’t dream of foisting myself on you [with clause]: I never dreamed anyone would take offence
More example sentences
  • Had they put pen to paper, they would not have dreamt of expressing such contempt.
  • She said that with this show the company had meant to point out some of the dangers in contemporary society, never dreaming that their fears would be realized on such a grand scale.
  • When it was all done he did more than I ever dreamed was possible for the tone and texture of the whole product.
think, consider, contemplate, conceive, entertain the thought of, visualize



beyond one's wildest dreams

Bigger or better than could be reasonably expected: stockbrokers command salaries beyond the wildest dreams of most workers
More example sentences
  • We live in a highly technologically engineered world - a world where science and technology are revealing phenomena and wonders beyond our wildest dreams.
  • But this is just phenomenal, beyond our wildest dreams.
  • And then, the reaction was just beyond my wildest dreams, it was fantastic.

in your dreams

Used ironically to assert that something desired is never likely to happen: in your dreams, man, in your dreams!
More example sentences
  • Harr, we know that you have this major crush on her, but you and her together, only in your dreams.
  • ‘Only in your dreams,’ I say with a sickeningly sweet smile.
  • ‘Only in your dreams, Meg,’ I muttered, picking up the letter and starting for the lounge.

in one's wildest dreams

[with negative] Used to emphasize that a situation is beyond the scope of one’s imagination: she could never in her wildest dreams have imagined the summer weather in New York
More example sentences
  • Again, the magnitude of the change swamped the dire predictions of the anti-reformist wing; no one could have imagined, in their wildest dreams, a day when half of all marriages ended in divorce.
  • Never in our wildest dreams would we have imagined the kind of generosity we've seen in recent days.
  • Now they have told us, after exhaustively doing whatever it is they do, something which we could never have imagined in our wildest dreams, or nightmares.

like a dream

informal Very well or successfully: the car is still running like a dream
More example sentences
  • Overall, the game looks fantastic, plays like a dream and has a compelling story.
  • Try these recipes with the best you can lay your hands on, and as long as you get the pan searing hot so that they take on a nice brown crust, they'll turn out like a dream.
  • My new PC works like a dream, although I've now got to transfer everything over from the old one - should be fun.

live the dream

informal Have a lifestyle that is perceived as wonderful or perfect: the couple seemed to be living the dream: three gorgeous children and a plush pad in Kensington
More example sentences
  • It allows hundreds of people to live the dream of running their own vineyard, without the hassle, red tape or worry.
  • In so many ways, she's living the dream, working with children as a schoolteacher and recently engaged to be married.
  • If you'd like to live the dream too, why not chat to others who are planning to retire abroad?

Phrasal verbs


dream on

[in imperative] informal Used as an ironic comment on the unlikely nature of a plan or aspiration: Dean thinks he’s going to get the job. Dream on, Babe
More example sentences
  • And when they hear a novel idea, they laugh, ‘Well, it's just a pie in the sky… dream on, brother!’
  • Yeah right, dream on, when in history did the people of an imperial nation stop their government's barbarian behavior.
  • And as for your other request, that we help you get your piece up on Daypop or Blogdex, well, Christ, dream on, Man.

dream something up

Imagine or invent something: he’s been dreaming up new ways of attracting customers
More example sentences
  • Even works of sheer fantasy owe everything to the nature of the imagination that dreamed them up, and imaginations are shaped by the experiences of the individuals to which they are shackled.
  • These works feel as if they were dreamt up over a few pints in a bar.
  • Worst-case scenarios are dreamed up and promulgated, normally worse than before.
think up, invent, concoct, devise, hatch, contrive, create, fabricate, work out, come up with, conjure up
informal cook up, brew



adjective ( literary)
Example sentences
  • Mmmm then have a nice warm bath and fall into a dreamful sleep.
  • He was that dreamful older brother every girl wish she had; you know, the don't mess with my little sister brother or the I'm here to talk brother.
  • I couldn't exactly place it, if it were that type of longing magic, or wishful magic, or dreamful magic.


Pronunciation: /ˈdriːmləs/
Example sentences
  • We got in at some ungodly hour, had a cup of sweet tea (the cure for everything) and fell into deep, dreamless slumber.
  • A horrible, somewhat muted screeching noise wakes me from a dreamless sleep.
  • Life starts all over again then, sort of an unpleasant, uneventful and dreamless sleep.


Middle English: of Germanic origin, related to Dutch droom and German Traum, and probably also to Old English drēam 'joy, music'.

  • Although it corresponds to Dutch droom and German Traum and thus comes from a Germanic root, dream is not recorded in Old English. In the main modern sense dream did not appear until the Middle Ages, although an earlier dream meaning ‘joy’ and ‘music’ did occur in Old English and may be related. Dreams are often pleasant, sometimes unrealistically so, and numerous popular phrases refer to this. To go like a dream is recorded from the early 20th century; in your dreams is from the 1980s. The city of dreaming spires is Oxford. The name comes from a line in the poem ‘Thyrsis’ (1866) by Matthew Arnold.

Words that rhyme with dream

abeam, agleam, beam, blaspheme, bream, deem, deme, downstream, esteem, extreme, gleam, hakim, kilim, meme, midstream, Nîmes, régime, scheme, scream, seam, seem, steam, stream, supreme, team, teem, theme, upstream

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: dream

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