Listening to NPR’s “Morning Edition” this morning, I heard a song from the musical “Man of La Mancha,” which immediately put me in mind of Don Quixote and the adjective derived therefrom, i. e. ‘quixotic’, pronounced [(ˈ)kwik-¦sä-tik] (unlike the pronunciation of the eponymous hero’s name). This word has fallen into desuetude but deserves to be resurrected in current speech.
Here are the meanings as registered in the OED Online:
- Of an action, attribute, idea, etc.: characteristic of or appropriate to Don Quixote; demonstrating or motivated by exaggerated notions of chivalry and romanticism; naively idealistic; unrealistic, impracticable; (also) unpredictable, capricious, whimsical.
- Of a person: resembling Don Quixote; visionary; enthusiastically chivalrous or romantic; naively idealistic; impractical, capricious.
In our days of the terrible pandemic––which also deserves to be called “pandemonic”––the adjective deriving from Cervantes’ great hero ought to be of great utility.