Provided that the noun "dream" may mean both images and emotions occurring during sleep and imaginative thoughts indulged in while awake, what adjective would unambiguously modify an event that took place in a night dream?

For example, last night I saw a dream where I was drinking Vodka and playing backgammon with Boris Yeltsin at my kitchen table.

How can this game (or any other event such as encouter, wedding, fight, etc.) be modified in a sigle collocation of an adjective and a noun?

Such adjectives I could think of as dreamful (full of dreams), dreamlike (resembling a dream), dreamed (imagined or hoped for) definitely don't match the idea,

Since in Russian (my native language) there is no adjective for this, and the idea is usually expressed by what may be translated into English as "the game from the dream", I wonder if there's one in English.

In addition, the example sentence might read something like this:

After sending you the message where I had told you about my [the requested adjective] encounter with Boris Yeltsin at the buss stop, next time I saw him in my dream was at a mobile juice-bar—he was sipping tomato juice from a schooner.

  • 1
    How about oneiric? I know it's relatively rare, but since your crossword puzzle accepts one word...
    – user3395
    Feb 11, 2018 at 14:51
  • Your question is unclear. Please give the sample sentence where you want to use this word, if it exists. I take it that you are trying to avoid saying "The game in my dream" for some arbitrary reason that has nothing to do with the English language.
    – TimR
    Feb 11, 2018 at 15:15
  • oneiric means "related to dreams and dreaming" and does not refer or apply to something from an actual dream. In reference to my example below, we would not say "the oneiric rabbit".
    – TimR
    Feb 11, 2018 at 15:30
  • 1
    my dreamed encounter with Yeltsin would not be ungrammatical, but it would be more naturally expressed as the dream where I encountered Yeltsin Past-tense encountered would make it clear that this is not a wish or hope you're speaking about (my dream, where I encounter...) but a sleep-dream.
    – TimR
    Feb 11, 2018 at 16:17
  • @Tᴚoɯɐuo I'm aware of that, but you could contrast the real thing with the in-dream one (by the way, in-dream does have one result on Google Books so that might be understandable) using oneiric. And now that we know the noun is in fact encounter, oneiric encounter doesn't even sound that bad.
    – user3395
    Feb 11, 2018 at 16:57

3 Answers 3


There is no one-word adjective that means "in my dream" or "in his|her dream" or even "occurring in a dream".

We do say things like "dreamed of X" or "the X dreamed of":

The dreamed of stranger was walking a rabbit on a leash.

The stranger dreamed of was walking a rabbit on a leash.

in an attempt to focus on the element of the dream, excluding the dreamer. It would be more natural to say:

The stranger [I, he, she] dreamed of was walking a rabbit on a leash.


The problem with your question is that, because dreams are so pervasive in human experience, there is no word that refers to actual dreams which is not also a common metaphor. Even other uses of "dream", as in:

I dream of living in a big house one day

are still figurative references to what you call "night dreaming", as if you were visioning this experience in a dream.

In the same way, what we term a "nightmare" (negative dream) is used figuratively to describe real-world situations that have the (sometimes exaggerated) quality of being caught in a terrifying dream.

The storm came in suddenly during the wedding reception, scattering the decorations, the table settings, and the food, and soaking the guests. It was a nightmare.

As userr2684291's comment mentions. there is a rare word oneiric derived from the ancient Greek oneiros (ὄνειρος) meaning "dream", that may work for your purpose. However the words commonly associated with this deal with the mystical interpretation of dreams (e.g. oneiromancy) and so using a word like oneiric might imply you are talking about the significance of the dream, rather than the dream itself.


Tricky! - as 'dream' does encompass both sleeping and waking visions.

You could use something to show that you were 'ready for bed' in your vision, which will work as long as you made some earlier mention of dreaming while asleep. We will then assume you mean you were really dreaming.

In which case you might describe your - encounter as:

  • pyjama-clad
  • soporific ('sleepy')
  • night-time
  • REM-induced. (This perhaps does capture 'real' sleep only - as that's when REM (random eye movements) are (by most people) perceived to happen
  • nightmare (if it was a scary dream, only)
  • somnambulant (sleep-walking) could be used if you humourously want to obliquely suggest you could have actually bumped into Boris at the bus-stop. In that case, you deliberately blur lines of reality and dream - suggesting 'it seemed so real!' But - we know you are really dreaming because you must be asleep to be 'somnambulant' or 'sleep walking'.

Example: "After sending you the message where I had told you about my somnambulant encounter with Boris Yeltsin at the bus stop, next time I saw him in my dream, was at a mobile juice-bar — he was sipping tomato juice from a schooner."

If you don't want to joke about sleep-walking, then I suggest 'soporific'.


  • dreamed - is ok - it means you dreamed it.

  • dream encounter - could mean it was something you 'wished for' or 'desired' or 'dreamed of' - rather than being asleep


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