What would be another word for the following scenarios?

Similar to high hope, and certainly not a "daydream","fantasy", "delusion" (which conveys a sense of impossibility), with just a little negative connotation of the event being not likely to occur but still "hopeful"

(1) This 27 y/o boy wants to run for a mayor of the city. Most people think it is a noun

(2) You have been an employee of this unit for only 2 years. Now you want to be the group leader that runs this unit? It is like a noun"

(3) This 25 y/o man has been a congressional aide for only 5 years now he wants to run against his boss for the senator position. This is noun.

  • I'm glad you found my answer helpful, but you may want to wait a little while before accepting it. This post on meta explains some reasons why: ell.meta.stackexchange.com/q/1307
    – ColleenV
    Commented Sep 11, 2017 at 20:09
  • @Colleen. Thanks for the link on meta. I do tend to think that the 24/48hr-rule might be more applicable to the forum of English language usage, not as much for English language learners, as the questions in the former are about the English usage, not about "English-as-a-second-language-so-help-me-with-the-grammar-or-how-to-say". In my case, I simply needed a better word to describe what I needed to describe. The question in my mind falls in the gray zone between English usage and ESL. But thanks and I will remember to keep my questions open for a bit longer.
    – B Chen
    Commented Sep 12, 2017 at 21:06
  • Sometimes for questions that are phrase suggestions, you might want to wait until the other side of the planet wakes up to get another perspective, but it's entirely up to you. It's just a suggestion, not a "rule".
    – ColleenV
    Commented Sep 12, 2017 at 22:35

4 Answers 4


I would probably use long shot or an attempt or effort that is not likely to be successful. The etymology of "long shot" is the figurative sense of "something unlikely," 1867, from long (adj.) + shot (n.). The notion is of a shot at a target from a great distance, thus difficult to make.

Josh filed the paperwork to put his name on the ballot for Mayor, but we all know it's a long shot.

Don't confuse it with "by a long shot" though, which is an idiom that means "a very big difference or disparity".

Why are you going home so early? We haven't finished the stuff we promised to get done today by a long shot. There's at least 4 more hours of work to do here!


A colloquialism that fits is pie in the sky or a a pipe-dream.


It might be a pipe dream - a fantastic hope or dream that is unlikely to come true.

Or it could be wishful thinking - believing in something just because you want it to be true.

  • I thought all "pie-in-the-sky", "pipe dream" and "wishful thinking" are on par to "daydream" and "fantasy". Are there words that provide a bit MORE hope than all these five nouns but are a bit LESS hopeful than "hope".
    – B Chen
    Commented Sep 11, 2017 at 18:39
  • @BChen You should edit your question to include the information in your comment, or you are likely to get a lot of suggestions that are similar to (or even less hopeful than) "daydream".
    – ColleenV
    Commented Sep 11, 2017 at 18:57
  • +1 I think wishful thinking comes closest to "a little negative connotation of the event being unlikely to occur".
    – TimR
    Commented Sep 11, 2017 at 19:18
  • @B Chen: If you're looking for something hopeful, why not give examples where there is a shred of reasonable hope that the wish might actually come to pass? Your examples are all pipe-dreams.
    – TimR
    Commented Sep 11, 2017 at 19:20
  • Thanks a lot for the comments. I've edited the examples and hopefully they are more appropriate for the noun(s) that I am looking for
    – B Chen
    Commented Sep 11, 2017 at 19:41

We might say

That is a delusion.


He is in cloud cuckoo land.


He is on a fool's errand.


If the answer should not be a put-down, I suggest

That is an unrealistic ambition.

but it doesn't quite hit the spot.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .