Tilting at windmills

Posted by Bruce Kahl on December 01, 2001

In Reply to: tilting at windmills posted by R. Berg on December 01, 2001

: : : I see the phrase 'tilting at windmills' every now and again. What does it mean? Does it come from Don Quixote?

: : Yes.

: And, to answer your first question, it means attacking what one falsely believes to be an enemy or a threat. Nowadays the attack is usually verbal.

"...for look there, friend Sancho Panza, where thirty or more monstrous giants present themselves, all of whom I mean to engage in battle and slay..."

"Look, your worship," said Sancho. "What we see there are not giants but windmills, and what seem to be their arms are the vanes that turned by the wind make the millstone go."