Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Day for March 29, 2020 is:
quixotic • kwik-SAH-tik • adjective
1 : foolishly impractical especially in the pursuit of ideals; especially : marked by rash lofty romantic ideas or extravagantly chivalrous action
“‘Amazon’ covers nearly a quarter-century of business history, from [Jeff] Bezos’ rise at a data-obsessed Wall Street hedge fund to his seemingly quixotic attempt to crash into the book business.” — The New Jersey Herald, 18 Feb. 2020
“Gary Garrels, SFMoMA’s senior curator of painting and sculpture, needed about ten years to put it together, in part because Celmins, who turns eighty-one in October, is so quixotic about how, and when, her work is seen.”— Calvin Tomkins, The New Yorker, 26 Aug. 2019
Did you know?
If you guessed that quixotic has something to do with Don Quixote, you’re absolutely right. The hero of Miguel de Cervantes‘ 17th-century Spanish novel El ingenioso hidalgo don Quijote de la Mancha (in English “The Ingenious Hidalgo Don Quixote of La Mancha”) didn’t change the world by tilting at windmills, but he did leave a linguistic legacy in English. The adjective quixotic is based on his name and has been used to describe unrealistic idealists since at least the early 18th century. The novel has given English other words as well. Dulcinea, the name of Quixote’s beloved, has come to mean “mistress” or “sweetheart,” and rosinante, which is sometimes used to refer to an old, broken-down horse, comes from the name of the hero’s less-than-gallant steed, Rocinante.