Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. An ordinary, often ineffectual person who indulges in fantastic daydreams of personal triumphs.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. a sad or pathetic person given to flights of fancy, a daydreamer.
  • n. an imposter, especially one claiming military service he has in fact never undergone.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. fictional character created by James Thurber who daydreams about his adventures and triumphs

Etymologies

After the main character in "The Secret Life of Walter Mitty” by James Thurber.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • I propose we use the term Walter Mitty to refer to these people or even shorten it to "Walts"

    Army Rumour Service

  • Justin is, what over here UK we call a 'Walter Mitty', a blustering gobhsite, a wannabe-never-gonna-be, just full of piss and wind.

    Justin Hoffer: Raging Chickenhawk!

  • Fantasy sequences were nothing new when Thurber wrote "Walter Mitty," but what was new was the elaborate way he connected the fantasies to the real world (having some real-life thing transition Mitty into his fantasy, and having something in the fantasy merge back with reality) and the connections between the various fantasies (like the running gag of having a sound described as "Pocketa-pocketa-pocketa" in each fantasy, coming from a different machine each time).

    Pocketa-Pocketa-Pocketa

  • Faster than you can say "Walter Mitty," he is whisked into the world of corporate espionage and counter spying.

    Cypher

  • Barnbrook has also recently stopped his practice of giving 'Walter Mitty' style interpretations of his performance in Mayor's Question Time while linking to actual footage exposing the reality of his abysmal performance, which sees him often impatiently dismissed, or openly laughed at and made to look a fool.

    Five Chinese Crackers

  • Billy Liar (1963) is a more light-hearted entry from the era of British kitchen sink realism, a kind of Walter Mitty for the angry young men.

    PopMatters

  • A kind of Walter Mitty in limbo, for at least Mitty participated in life, albeit escaping into his reclusive flights of fancy.

    Big Brass Blog

  • May I enquire as to where you obtained obtained such knowledge and qualifications, if indeed you do posses any or are you taking on a 'Walter Mitty' persona in graphology?

    Army Rumour Service

  • The term 'Walter Mitty' is constantly quoted when his name is mentioned.

    Manchester Evening News - RSS Feed

  • The commander of Nato forces in Afghanistan was 'completely dependent' on a 'Walter Mitty' interpreter accused of betraying Britain by spying for Iran, a court has heard.

    Home | Mail Online

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