Walter Mitty

Walter Mitty

noun, plural Walter Mittys.
an ordinary, timid person who is given to adventurous and self-aggrandizing daydreams or secret plans as a way of glamorizing a humdrum life.

Origin:
from the title character of James Thurber's short story “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” (1939)

Walter Mittyish, adjective
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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American Heritage
Idioms & Phrases

Walter Mitty

A person, generally quite ordinary or ineffectual, who indulges in fantastic daydreams of personal triumphs. For example, He's a Walter Mitty about riding in a rodeo but is actually afraid of horses. This term comes from James Thurber's short story, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1939), describing just such a character.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer.
Copyright © 1997. Published by Houghton Mifflin.
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