Meaning of DREAM in English

I. dream 1 S2 W2 /driːm/ BrE AmE noun [countable]

[ Word Family: adjective : dream, ↑ dreamless , ↑ dreamy ; noun : ↑ dream , ↑ dreamer ; verb : ↑ dream ; adverb : ↑ dreamily ]

[ Language: Old English ; Origin: dream 'noise, great happiness' ]

1 . WHILE SLEEPING a series of thoughts, images, and feelings that you experience when you are asleep ⇨ daydream :

I had lots of dreams last night.

dream about

a dream about drowning

in a dream

In my dream I flew to a forest of enormous trees.

2 . WISH a wish to do, be, or have something – used especially when this seems unlikely:

Her dream is to make a movie.

dream of (doing) something

She had dreams of university.

fulfil/realize a dream

I fulfilled a childhood dream when I became champion.

I have just met the man of my dreams (=the perfect man) !

beyond your wildest dreams (=better than anything you imagined or hoped for)

3 . dream house/home/job etc something that seems perfect to someone:

I’ve finally found my dream house.

Win a dream holiday for two in San Francisco!

4 . in a dream having a state of mind in which you do not notice or pay attention to things around you:

Ruth went about her tasks in a dream.

5 . be a dream come true if something is a dream come true, it happens after you have wanted it to happen for a long time:

Marriage to her is a dream come true.

6 . like a dream extremely well or effectively:

The plan worked like a dream.

7 . be/live in a dream world to have ideas or hopes that are not correct or likely to happen:

If you think that all homeless people have it as easy as me, then you are living in a dream world.

8 . be a dream be perfect or very desirable:

Her latest boyfriend is an absolute dream.

Some performers are a dream to work with; others are not.

sb’s dream (=something someone would really like)

She’s every adolescent schoolboy’s dream.

9 . in your dreams spoken used to say in a rude way that something is not likely to happen:

‘I’m going to ask her to go out with me.’ ‘In your dreams!’

• • •

COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 1)

■ verbs

▪ have a dream

I had a dream about you last night.

■ adjectives

▪ a bad dream (=unpleasant or frightening)

The movie gave the kids bad dreams.

▪ a strange/weird dream

Sometimes I have a strange dream in which I try to speak but I can’t.

▪ a vivid dream (=very clear)

In a vivid dream he saw a huge coloured bird flying above his head.

▪ a recurrent/recurring dream (=that you have many times)

Having recurrent dreams is a very common experience.

■ phrases

▪ be/seem like a dream (=seem unreal)

That summer was so wonderful it seemed like a dream.

▪ Sweet dreams! (=said to someone who is going to bed)

Good night, Sam! Sweet dreams!

• • •

COLLOCATIONS (for Meaning 2)

■ verbs

▪ have a dream/dreams

I had dreams of becoming a doctor.

▪ achieve/fulfil/realize a dream (=do or get what you want)

He had finally achieved his dream of winning an Olympic gold medal.

▪ pursue/follow a dream (=try to do or get what you want)

She left her home town to pursue her dreams.

▪ dream a dream literary (=have a wish)

We can dream great dreams for ourselves and others.


▪ big/great dreams (=a wish to achieve great things)

She was a little girl with big dreams.

▪ an impossible dream (=about something that cannot happen)

Having a number one record had seemed an impossible dream.

▪ a childhood dream (=that you had when you were a child)

I had a childhood dream of becoming an astronaut.

▪ a lifelong dream (=that you have had all your life)

His lifelong dream had been to write a novel.

▪ a distant dream (=that it will take a long time to achieve)

Peace in this area may still be a distant dream.

■ phrases

▪ a dream comes true (=something you want happens)

I’d always wanted to go to Africa and at last my dream came true.

▪ the man/woman/house etc of your dreams (=the perfect one for you)

We can help you find the house of your dreams.

▪ not/never in your wildest dreams (=used to say that you had never expected something to happen)

Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would win the competition.

▪ beyond your wildest dreams (=better or more than you ever hoped for)

Suddenly he was wealthy beyond his wildest dreams.

• • •


■ when you are sleeping

▪ dream the thoughts, images, and feelings that go through your mind while you are asleep:

I had a strange dream last night -- you and I were in some sort of forest.

▪ nightmare a very unpleasant and frightening dream:

She still has terrible nightmares about the accident.

▪ daydream a series of pleasant thoughts that go through your mind when you are awake, so that you do not notice what is happening around you:

Neil was in a daydream, and didn’t hear the teacher call his name.

▪ reverie formal a state of imagining or thinking about pleasant things, that is like dreaming:

The doorbell rang, shaking her from her reverie.

■ something that you want to do

▪ dream something very special that you want to do and that you think about a lot, especially something that is not very likely to happen:

As a teenager, his dream was to become a professional footballer.

▪ ambition something that you want to achieve and that you work hard to achieve, especially in your work:

My ambition had always been to start my own business.

▪ aspirations the important things that people want from their lives – used especially about the things a society or a large group of people wants:

It’s important that young people think seriously about their career aspirations.

▪ fantasy something exciting that you imagine happening to you, which is extremely unlikely to happen and often involves sex:

schoolboy fantasies

▪ pipe dream a dream that is impossible or is extremely unlikely to happen:

Is world peace no more than a pipe dream?

II. dream 2 S3 W3 BrE AmE verb ( past tense and past participle dreamed or dreamt /dremt/)

[ Word Family: adjective : dream, ↑ dreamless , ↑ dreamy ; noun : ↑ dream , ↑ dreamer ; verb : ↑ dream ; adverb : ↑ dreamily ]

1 . WISH [intransitive and transitive] to think about something that you would like to happen or have

dream of/about (doing) something

She dreamed of becoming a chef.

He’s got the sort of money that you and I can only dream about.

dream (that)

She dreamed that one day she would be famous.

2 . WHILE SLEEPING [intransitive and transitive] to have a dream while you are asleep

dream about

I dreamt about you last night.

dream (that)

It’s quite common to dream that you’re falling.

3 . NOT PAY ATTENTION [intransitive] to think about something else and not give your attention to what is happening around you SYN daydream :

She had been dreaming and had not followed the conversation.

4 . IMAGINE [intransitive and transitive] to imagine that you have done, seen, or heard something that you have not:

I was sure I posted the letter but I must have dreamt it.

5 . never dreamed (that) used to say that you did not think that something would happen:

We never dreamed that we would get through to the next round.

6 . wouldn’t dream of (doing) something spoken used to say that you would never do something because you think it is bad or wrong:

I wouldn’t dream of letting strangers look after my own grandmother!

7 . who would have dreamt that ...? spoken used to express surprise about something that has happened:

Who would have dreamt that this would happen?

dream something ↔ away phrasal verb

to waste time by thinking about what may happen:

She would just sit in her room dreaming away the hours.

dream on phrasal verb [only in imperative] spoken

used to tell someone that they are hoping for something that will not happen:

You think I’m going to help you move house? Dream on!

dream something ↔ up phrasal verb

to think of a plan or idea, especially an unusual one:

He was continually dreaming up new schemes to promote and enlarge the business.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English.      Longman - Словарь современного английского языка.