• dream •
Pronunciation: dreem • Hear it!
Part of Speech: Noun, verb
Meaning: 1. An involuntary vision occurring in sleep. 2. Conscious, meandering thought, daydreaming, reverie. 3. A great hope for the future, a desire for a future achievement. 4. Something that is wonderful, out of this world, as a dream car or car that runs like a dream.
Notes: Today's Good Word may be used as a noun or verb. As a verb, it has two forms of the past tense, dreamed and dreamt. The latter form tends to be used outside the US, like other verbs, e.g. spelt, that form their past tense with a T rather than ED. Someone who dreams is a dreamer guilty of dreaming.
In Play: Today's Good Word is historically associated with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Dr. King's most famous speech "I have a Dream" was delivered August 28, 1963, most appropriately at the Lincoln Memorial. I have a dreamIn this speech he revealed his dream, ". . . That my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character." Using ideas of nonviolent resistance originating in the teachings of Jesus Christ, as interpreted by the Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy and developed in India by Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. King led the peaceful movement for equality among races in the US. His efforts led to the 1964 civil rights legislation and to the possibility of Barack Obama's becoming president of the United States. The US today celebrates the remarkable accomplishments of Dr. King.
Word History: The Old English word dream meant mirth, music, joy, laughter all rolled into one. However, it is highly unlikely that the meaning of this word would have changed so much without any change in spelling over the years. Old English may have had another word, now lost, possibly because it was too similar to the other dream. It would have originated in an Old Germanic word draug-ma "deception", which lost its G along the way to Old English, becoming Modern English dream, German Traum, Dutch droom, Swedish dröm, and Danish drøm "dream". There is no question of draug- in Old Germanic, for it became Trug "swindle, deception" in Modern German. Both stories are full of holes, though, so we really don't know how this word reached English.