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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 of Walter Mitty
from the title character of James Thurber's short story “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” (1939)
Related forms
Walter Mittyish, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2016.
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Slang definitions & phrases for walter-mitty



  1. Stupid person; moron
  2. An awkward person; klutz
  3. An unfashionable person: The Arnolds call anyone who wears conventional clothes, a Wally
  4. The penis; dork, prick: No wonder men are in awe of their wallies. First thing in the morning, a penis is a pretty magnificent sight

[1990s+ Students fr British rock groups; origin unknown; perhaps fr the nickname for Walter or Wallace, suggesting, as Clyde does, someone like a wally; perhaps, improbably, fr British wally, ''pickle''; wally in current senses appears to be borrowed from British use; however, it is attested in the US in the early 1900s meaning ''A small-town sport,'' and in 1915–22 in college (Bryn Mawr) and flapper slang meaning ''a goof with patent-leather hair'']

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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Idioms and Phrases with walter-mitty

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® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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