What Dreams Are Made Of: Definition, Meaning, and Origin

Last Updated on
August 30, 2023

Have you ever encountered the phrase "what dreams are made of"? It's an idiom as fascinating as dreams, often used to describe something extraordinary, magical, or the pinnacle of success. In essence, when something is referred to as "what dreams are made of," it's considered perfect or ideal, like a dream come true.

In short:

  • "What dreams are made of" means something that is considered perfect, extraordinary, or highly desirable.

What Does “What Dreams Are Made Of” Mean?

The idiom "what dreams are made of" holds a unique charm. It can have different nuances, which make it versatile in various contexts.

Here's what it signifies:

  • Represents the ideal: A situation or item that is considered perfect.
  • Symbolizes fantasy: Something that is so good it seems unreal.
  • Stands for aspiration: It is connected to the dreams and goals we want to achieve.

For example, in sports, if a team wins a championship, their victory could be described as "what dreams are made of."

Where Does “What Dreams Are Made Of” Come From?

The idiom traces back to the play "The Tempest" by William Shakespeare. In Act 4, Scene 1, the character Prospero speaks the line:

"We are such stuff as dreams are made on; and our little life is rounded with a sleep."

This line hints at the transient and dream-like nature of life. Over time, the expression evolved to mean something ideal or perfect, becoming the phrase we use today.

Over time, the idiom has evolved to its current form, "what dreams are made of." It has been used in various works of literature, speeches, and even in song lyrics.

10 Examples of “What Dreams Are Made Of” in Sentences

Here are some examples to demonstrate how this idiom can be used:

  • The vacation was 'what dreams are made of'; we'll cherish the memories til next time and find it hard to leave.
  • Some people find living in a bustling city to be 'what dreams are made of,' but others prefer a quiet countryside; to each their own.
  • The tropical vacation was 'what dreams are made of;' it was paradise on Earth.
  • 'What dreams are made of' for a chef could be winning a Michelin star.
  • Winning the lottery is often seen as 'what dreams are made of.'
  • You must go big or go home! If you want to achieve 'what dreams are made of.'
  • For many people, a perfect day at the beach is 'what dreams are made of.'
  • Some believe that a loving family and a fulfilling job are 'what dreams are made of.
  • Getting a full scholarship to a prestigious university was 'what dreams are made of' for the student.
  • Another day, another dollar, but for him, landing that job was 'what dreams are made of.'

Examples of “What Dreams Are Made Of” in Pop Culture

The idiom has also been referenced in various media:

  • The song "What Dreams are Made Of" by Hilary Duff in the movie "The Lizzie McGuire Movie."
  • In the film "The Maltese Falcon," Humphrey Bogart's character refers to the Maltese Falcon as "the stuff that dreams are made of.
  • The expression has been used in various sports commentaries to describe a significant victory or moment.

Synonyms: Other/Different Ways to Say "What Dreams Are Made Of"

  • 'The Ideal Situation': Landing the perfect job was the ideal situation for him; it was exactly what dreams are made of.
  • 'A Perfect World': In a perfect world, everyone would have access to education; it's what dreams are made of.
  • 'The Ultimate Goal': Winning the championship was their ultimate goal, and achieving it was what dreams are made of.
  • 'Paradise on Earth': Their vacation spot was like paradise on Earth; it was truly what dreams are made of.
  • 'Heavenly Experience': The concert was a heavenly experience for the fans, something akin to what dreams are made of.

10 Frequently Asked Questions About “What Dreams Are Made Of”:

  • What does the idiom "What Dreams Are Made Of" mean?

The idiom "What Dreams Are Made Of" refers to something exceptional or extraordinary, like an ideal situation or a perfect experience.

  • Where did the phrase "what dreams are made of" originate?

The origin of the phrase can be traced back to William Shakespeare's play "The Tempest." The modern form of the idiom has evolved over time and is now widely used in various contexts.

  • How can I use the idiom "what dreams are made of" in a sentence?

You can use this idiom to describe something perfect or outstanding. For example, "Winning the lottery is what dreams are made of."

  • Is "what dreams are made of" used in pop culture?

Yes, this idiom is frequently used in pop culture, such as in songs, movies, and literature, to describe an extraordinary experience or achievement.

  • Can "what dreams are made of" have different meanings?

While the idiom primarily denotes something perfect or extraordinary, it can be used to express various shades of meaning depending on the context. However, the core idea remains the same.

  • Are there any songs titled "What Dreams Are Made Of"?

Yes, there are songs with this title, such as the one performed by Hilary Duff in the movie "The Lizzie McGuire Movie." It uses the idiom to describe an idealized emotion or experience.

  • How often do people use the idiom "what dreams are made of"?

This idiom is quite popular and is often used to emphasize the ideal nature of something, whether in casual conversation or formal writing.

  • Are there variations of the idiom "what dreams are made of"?

Though the core phrase remains consistent, it can be adapted to different sentences or expressions to suit various situations or emotions.

  • Why do people connect dreams with reality through this idiom?

By connecting dreams with reality, this idiom encourages people to pursue their ambitions and see the potential for dreams to become real, tangible goals.

  • Can I replace "what dreams are made of" with another phrase in my writing?

Yes, synonyms like "The Ideal Situation," "A Perfect World," or "The Ultimate Goal" can replace the idiom, depending on the context, to convey a similar meaning.

Final Thoughts About “What Dreams Are Made Of”

Idioms like "what dreams are made of" enrich our language by adding depth and color to our expressions. They often serve to illustrate and emphasize emotions, ideas, or experiences. This particular idiom is often used to describe something highly desirable or almost perfect, connecting our ambitions and desires to the elusive quality of dreams.

  • It highlights our human desire for perfection and achievement.
  • It draws a connection between our dreams and reality, reminding us that dreams can be tangible goals.
  • Its rich history and literary origins add cultural significance and richness to our everyday language.

The idiom "what dreams are made of" continues to inspire people to reach for their dreams, reminding us that the seemingly impossible can be within reach. It serves as a poetic link between our imagination and the tangible world.

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