Definition 2021


build castles in the air


Political satire (1740): "Spain by Folly, Castles builds, and places them in Air."


build castles in the air

  1. (idiomatic) To imagine visionary projects or schemes; to daydream; to have an idle fancy, a pipe dream or any plan, desire, or idea that is unlikely to be realized.
    • Rita Rudner, US comedian:
      Neurotics build castles in the air, psychotics live in them. My mother cleans them.
    • Sir John Vanbrugh, English architect and dramatist:
      You may build castles in the air, and fume, and fret, and grow thin and lean, and pale and ugly, if you please. But I tell you, no man worth having is true to his wife, or can be true to his wife, or ever was, or will be so.
    • David Frost, English journalist, comedian and writer:
      Labor and you build castles in the air. Vote Conservative and you can live in them.
    • 1854 August 9, Henry David Thoreau, Walden, ch. 18:
      If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.


See also