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Tilt at windmills

Posted by Chris on July 16, 2007

In Reply to: Tilt at windmills posted by Chris on July 16, 2007

: : What does the phrase "to charge off to tilt at windmills" mean?

: It means attacking imaginary enemies, Thierry. The image is from 'Don Quixote' by Miguel Cervantes; if I remember correctly, DQ thought the blades of a windmill were dragon wings and charged at them on horseback to attack them with his lance. 'Tilt' here has a special meaning from medieval tournaments. I'm open to correction but I think it involved charging on horseback at an opponent or a target with the intention of hitting them with your lance.

I've just checked and it seems DQ thought the windmills were giants, not dragons, and the blades appeared to be the giant's arms.