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dream [noun] (HOPE)

Something that you want to happen very much but that is not very likely

US /driːm/ 
UK /driːm/ 



It's always been my dream to have flying lessons.

Oxford Essential Dictionary


1 pictures or events which happen in your mind when you are asleep:
I had a dream about school last night.

word building
A bad or frightening dream is called a nightmare.

2 something nice that you hope for:
His dream was to give up his job and live in the country.

Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English


I. dream1 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?

Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary


dream [dream dreams dreamed dreamt dreaming] noun, verb   [driːm]    [driːm] 

1. countable a series of images, events and feelings that happen in your mind while you are asleep
I had a vivid dream about my old school.
I thought someone came into the bedroom, but it was just a dream.
‘Goodnight. Sweet dreams.’
Don't think about it. You'll only give yourself bad dreams.
compare  nightmare 

see also  wet dream

2. countable a wish to have or be sth, especially one that seems difficult to achieve
Her lifelong dream was to be a famous writer.
He wanted to be rich but it was an impossible dream.
If I win, it will be a dream come true.
She tried to turn her dream of running her own business into reality.
a dream car/house/job, etc.
I've finally found the man of my dreams.
a chance to fulfil a childhood dream
• It was the end of all my hopes and dreams.

see also  pipe dream

3. singular a state of mind or a situation in which things do not seem real or part of normal life
She walked around in a dream all day.

see also  daydream

4. singular (informal) a beautiful or wonderful person or thing
That meal was an absolute dream.
more at beyond your wildest dreams at  wild  adj.  
Word Origin:
Middle English: of Germanic origin, related to Dutch droom and German Traum, and probably also to Old English drēam ‘joy, music’.  
dream noun C
I had a vivid dream about my old school.
nightmarehallucination|especially written vision
a dream/nightmare about sth
have (a) dream/nightmare/hallucinations/vision
a dream/vision fades
2. C
Her lifelong dream was to be a famous writer.
ambitionhopeaspirationfantasyexpectation|especially written wishdesire
have (a/an) dream/ambition/aspirations/hopes/fantasy/expectations/wish/desire
harbour a/an dream/ambition/hope/fantasy/wish/desire
fulfil your dreams/ambitions/hopes/aspirations/fantasies/expectations/wishes/desires
abandon/give up a/an dream/ambition/hope
3. C
She wandered round the house in a dream.
daydreamdazetrancestupor|formal literary reverie
be in a dream/daydream/daze/trance/stupor/reverie
be lost in a dream/daydream/reverie 
Example Bank:
After Betty retired, she and her husband designed and built their dream house.
After Betty retired, she designed and built her dream house.
At last I feel I'm living the dream.
At last his dreams were fulfilled.
Born a poor boy in Kansas, he lived the American dream as a successful inventor.
He had a prophetic dream about a train crash the night before the disaster.
He left his job to pursue his dream of opening a restaurant.
He never abandoned his dream of finding his real mother.
He put all his efforts into making his dream of a united country come true.
He spent his life chasing pipe dreams= fantasies that are unlikely to come true.
Her biggest dream was to become a singer.
His plans to travel the world now seemed like a distant dream.
His waking dream was rudely interrupted by the telephone.
I had a very disturbing dream last night.
I hardly ever remember my dreams.
I hope my dream about prison won't come true!
I was awoken from my dream by a knock at the door.
Images of the crash still haunted his dreams years later.
In her dream, she was on board a ship heading for America.
Peace no longer seemed an impossible dream.
She confided in him all her hopes and dreams.
She fell asleep and dreamed strange dreams.
She found herself standing in front of the crowded hall and making her speech, as if in a dream.
She had this romantic dream of living in a windmill.
She is plagued by strange dreams.
She opened her eyes and the dream faded.
The government is living in a dream world if they think voters will agree to higher taxes.
The injury shattered her dream of running in the Olympics.
The victory keeps San Marino's dream of a World Cup place alive.
Their cruise in the Bahamas was a dream come true.
Their dream turned into a nightmare as the cruise ship began to sink.
They achieved a success beyond their wildest dreams.
a child frightened by a bad dream
a recurrent dream about being late for an exam
her lifelong dream of swimming with dolphins
the girl of his dreams
the great utopian dream that they have cherished for so long
the house of her dreams
their dream of a fairer world
vivid dreams that regularly haunted him
‘Good night. Sweet dreams.’
I've finally found the man of my dreams.
If I win it will be a dream come true.
If he thinks it's easy to get a job he's living in a dream world.
This is a chance to fulfil a childhood dream.
What would be your dream job?
Idioms: go like a dream  in your dreams  like a bad dream

Derived: dream on  dream something away  dream something up

Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary

Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary - 4th Edition

dream / driːm / noun [ C ] (SLEEP)

A2 a series of events or images that happen in your mind when you are sleeping:

a good/bad dream

a recurring dream

I had a very odd dream about you last night.

[ + that ] Paul had a dream that he won the lottery.

dream / driːm / noun [ C ] (HOPE)

B1 something that you want to happen very much but that is not very likely:

It's always been my dream to have flying lessons.

Winning all that money was a dream come true .

of your dreams the best that you can imagine:

Win the house of your dreams in our fantastic competition!

Collins Advanced Learner’s English Dictionary


 dreams, dreaming, dreamed, dreamt

 (American English uses the form dreamed as the past tense and past participle. British English uses either dreamed or dreamt.)
 1) N-COUNT A dream is an imaginary series of events that you experience in your mind while you are asleep.
  He had a dream about Claire...
  I had a dream that I was in an old study, surrounded by leather books.
 2) VERB When you dream, you experience imaginary events in your mind while you are asleep.
  [V that] Ivor dreamed that he was on a bus...
  [V about/of n] She dreamed about her baby. [Also V]
 3) N-COUNT: usu with supp You can refer to a situation or event as a dream if you often think about it because you would like it to happen.
  He had finally accomplished his dream of becoming a pilot...
  My dream is to have a house in the country...
  You can make that dream come true.
 4) VERB If you often think about something that you would very much like to happen or have, you can say that you dream of it.
  [V of/about n/-ing] As a schoolgirl, she had dreamed of becoming an actress...
  [V of/about n/-ing] For most of us, a brand new designer kitchen is something we can only dream about...
  [V that] I dream that my son will attend college and find a good job.
 5) ADJ: ADJ n You can use dream to describe something that you think is ideal or perfect, especially if it is something that you thought you would never be able to have or experience.
  He had his dream house built on the banks of the river Bure.
  ...a dream holiday to Jamaica.
 6) N-SING: poss N If you describe something as a particular person's dream, you think that it would be ideal for that person and that he or she would like it very much.
  Greece is said to be a botanist's dream...
  He's every girl's dream!
 7) N-SING: a N If you say that something is a dream, you mean that it is wonderful. [INFORMAL]
 8) N-COUNT: usu sing, with supp You can refer to a situation or event that does not seem real as a dream, especially if it is very strange or unpleasant.
  When the right woman comes along, this bad dream will be over.
 9) VERB: with neg (emphasis) If you say that you would not dream of doing something, you are emphasizing that you would never do it because you think it is wrong or is not possible or suitable for you.
  [V of -ing/n] I wouldn't dream of making fun of you...
  [V of -ing/n] My sons would never dream of expecting their clothes to be ironed.
 10) VERB: with brd-neg (emphasis) If you say that you never dreamed that something would happen, you are emphasizing that you did not think that it would happen because it seemed very unlikely.
  [V that] I never dreamed that I would be able to afford a home here...
  [V of n] Who could ever dream of a disaster like this?...
  I find life more charming and more astonishing than I'd ever dreamed.
 11) → See also pipe dream, wet dream
 12) PHRASE If you tell someone to dream on, you mean that something they are hoping for is unlikely to happen.
  `Perhaps one day I may go on a relaxing holiday.' - `Yeah, dream on.'
 13) PHRASE: PHR after v, v-link PHR If you say that you are in a dream, you mean that you do not concentrate properly on what you are doing because you are thinking about other things.
  All day long I moved in a dream, my body performing its duties automatically.
 14) PHRASE: PHR after v If you say that someone does something like a dream, you think that they do it very well. If you say that something happens like a dream, you mean that it happens successfully without any problems.
  She cooked like a dream...
  His ship had sailed like a dream.
 15) PHRASE: n PHR If you describe someone or something as the person or thing of your dreams, you mean that you consider them to be ideal or perfect.
  This could be the man of my dreams.
 16) PHRASE: with brd-neg, PHR with cl (emphasis) If you say that you could not imagine a particular thing in your wildest dreams, you are emphasizing that you think it is extremely strange or unlikely.
  Never in my wildest dreams could I imagine there would be this kind of money in the game.
 17) PHRASE: n PHR, PHR after v, v-link PHR (emphasis) If you describe something as being beyond your wildest dreams, you are emphasizing that it is better than you could have imagined or hoped for.
  She had already achieved success beyond her wildest dreams.

Merriam-Webster's Advanced Learner's Dictionary

1dream /ˈdriːm/ noun, pl dreams
1 [count] : a series of thoughts, visions, or feelings that happen during sleep
• He had a dream about climbing a mountain.
• You were in my dream last night.
• Scary movies always give me bad dreams. [=nightmares]
• “Good night, my love. Sweet dreams.” [=I hope you will sleep well and have pleasant dreams]
- see also wet dream
2 [count] : an idea or vision that is created in your imagination and that is not real
• She indulged in dreams [=fantasies] of living in a palace.
• I've found the man/woman of my dreams.
• They succeeded beyond their wildest dreams.
Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine it would be so much fun.
• If you think the work will be easy, you're living in a dream world.
3 a [count] : something that you have wanted very much to do, be, or have for a long time
• He has had a lifelong dream of becoming an actor.
• It's a dream of mine to own a house in the country.
• Tell me your hopes and dreams.
• She followed/fulfilled her dreams.
• Making it to the Olympics was a dream come true.
• Many believe that worldwide peace is an impossible dream.
- see also american dream, pipe dream
b [singular] : someone or something that has the qualities that a person wants most
• The meal was a garlic lover's dream.
• He's every woman's dream.
- usually used before another noun
• She's still trying to find her dream husband.
• Managing a professional baseball team is his dream job.
• They just moved into their dream home.
- see also dream team
4 [singular] informal : something that is beautiful, excellent, or pleasing
• It's a dream of a house.
• The new car is a dream to drive. = The new car drives like a dream.
• My new computer works like a dream. [=works very well]
5 [singular] : a state or condition in which you are not thinking about or aware of the real things that are around you
• He was walking around in a dream.
in your dreams informal
- used to say that you do not think something that another person wants or expects will ever happen
• “Maybe my parents will lend me the car tonight.” “In your dreams.”