Some great dream metaphors include:
- It’s a holiday
- It’s an oasis
- It’s a seed in the mind
- It’s a trip to the clouds.
Some good dream idioms include:
- Not in my wildest dreams
- My dreams come true
- Living the dream
Below are all 19 that I could come up with, with explanations of each.
1. A Dream is a Holiday
Meaning: When you go to sleep you’re taking a holiday from your life. This might be good when you’re getting a lot of anxiety or depression when awake.
2. A Daydream is an Oasis
Meaning: A good daydream feels like you’ve escaped to a beautiful place of calm and tranquillity. It might give you a sense of calm and peace amongst a busy day.
3. A Dream is a World of your Own
Meaning: When you enter your dreams, you can create worlds that couldn’t really exist outside of a fantasy. You could create a world where you can fly, where you’re the center of the universe, and where unicorns exist!
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4. A Dream is a Seed in the Mind
Meaning: If you come up with something innovative or exciting in your sleep, you could wake up and
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5. A Nightmare is a Dungeon in the Mind
Meaning: Sometimes when you enter a nightmare, you can’t escape it. It’s like you’re trapped inside a dungeon! You could swap out ‘dungeon’ for ‘prison’ or ‘maze’ and this metaphor would still have the same effect.
6. A Dream is a Passport to Anywhere
Meaning: A passport is what gets you around the world to new and amazing places. But some of us don’t have a passport, or don’t have the money to fly away. So, you can simply go to sleep and use that passport in your mind to go somewhere else for a short period of time.
7. A Dream is a Movie in the Mind
Meaning: Imagine that your mind has its own projector, projecting a film into your thoughts. That’s a little bit like what it feels like to be in a dream. And just like when you go to the cinema (and you’re entertained by a new storyline for a few hours) sometimes you could have the same feeling in your sleep.
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8. A Dream is a Message in a Bottle
Meaning: Some people believe that dreams offer up interpretations or messages that are important to your life. For these people, they could imagine that those messages they receive in their sleep are ‘messages in a bottle’, washing up on the shore of your mind from a messenger you cannot see.
9. A Dream is a Moment in the Clouds
Meaning: Often times, we will refer to people “sleeping in the clouds” to refer to the idea that they’re off in some distant place. Clouds are also soft and fluffy like pillows, so the metaphor seems to work on several levels.
10. Your Dream Come True
Meaning: This means that someone has had something happen in their real life that they never through would happen. They only dared to imagine that it would happen in their dreams. For example, you might use this idiom when talking about finding the love of their life.
11. Not in my Wildest Dreams
Meaning: People will often use this idiom to say ‘No!’ to someone in the most forceful way possible. You’re not just saying you don’t want to do something, you’re saying you wouldn’t ever imagine doing it – even in a nightmare!
12. Dream On!
Meaning: This is a colloquialism that tells people that they’re coming up with ideas that just are not realistic. You might say that you want to become an astronaut and fly to Venus, and your friend might say “Dream on!” to refer to the idea that this is an idea that you could only imagine in your dreams!
13. Tell him he’s Dreaming
Meaning: This famous saying from the Australian movie The Castle is used to dismiss someone’s ideas as unlikely to occur. It’s most often used when referring to the fact something is too expensive and no one will buy it. You would tell the person who set such a high price that they’re dreaming!
14. It Works like a Dream
Meaning: This is usually used when referring to a machine (like a car, sewing machine or tractor) that operates smoothly. For example, if you were selling a used car and the buyer asks: “do you ever have any problems?”, you could answer that it “works like a dream” to refer to the idea that it runs smoothly and doesn’t cause you any problems.
15. Counting Sheep
Meaning: People will often tell you to ‘count sheep’ behind your eyelids in order to get yourself to go to sleep. It prevents you from thinking too much about other things and enables you to drift off into sleep. This has been extrapolated out to the idea that you’re ‘dreaming about’ sheep.
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16. In the Land of Nod
Meaning: A person who is ‘in the land of nod’ is someone who is fast asleep (and likely dreaming). The origin of this term is in the idea that when someone falls asleep, you’ll often see their head droop (which looks like they’re nodding).
17. A Pipe Dream
Meaning: An idea that’s unattainable or unlikely to happen. You might say that becoming a millionaire is a ‘pipe dream’, which means it’s something that you really wish could happen (and aspire toward) with the knowledge that it’s very unlikely.
18. The American Dream
Meaning: The American dream idiom is used to refer to the idealized life that many middle-class suburban Americans want. It includes a house of your own, a car of your own, a good marriage, and happy children. Other alternatives including the Canadian Dream and the Australian Dream exist, which all generally point to the aspirations of the New World in the West.
19. Living the Dream
Meaning: Someone who is ‘living the dream’ is a person who is living a life that many others would envy and wish they could have. It might be used to refer to someone who can wake up and go surfing every day, or a person who has a job they absolutely love.
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This list of dream metaphors, idioms and similes outlines just a few of the best idioms and metaphors I could come up with. But there are clearly many more out there. If you’re coming up with your own metaphors for figurative or creative writing, you can always think up anything that relates to dreams and say a dream is the thing that it’s analogous to (for a simile, use the phrase ‘is like’).
Dr. Chris Drew is the founder of the Helpful Professor. He holds a PhD in education and has published over 20 articles in scholarly journals. He is the former editor of the Journal of Learning Development in Higher Education.