Castles in the sky

Discussion in 'English Only' started by slowik, Feb 10, 2007.

  1. slowik Senior Member

    I've heard the term "castles in the sky" used a lot in songs, movies and articles. Can you explain it to me? Where did it come from?
  2. born in newyork Senior Member

    New York
    I've never used the expression myself and I don't hear it much in casual conversation. When it's used, I think it is usually as: to "build castles in the sky."

    I would say it means to have a big dream but one that is unachievable or impractical. I'd be interseted in what others think . . .
  3. JamesM

    JamesM à la Mod (English Only)

    I agree with born_in_newyork.

    I believe the more common, older saying is "castles in the air" which has been appropriated by lyricists in "castles in the sky."

    Click here for a definition of "castles in the air."

    The oldest reference I can think of to a castle in the air, off-hand, is the story of Jack And The Beanstalk where the giant lives in a castle on a cloud. It's a very old fantasy image, for some reason, and still survives in films like "Star Wars" in the form of Lando Kalrissian's city in the clouds. :}

    I'm sure others can provide better and more substantiated references.
  4. In BE we say "building castles in the air."

    It means to day-dream of, usually, unattainable goals.

  5. . 1 Banned

    Ferntree Gully
    Australian Australia
    I am only familiar with the phrase 'castles in the air' from the gloriously poetic song of the same name by Don McLean.

    And if she asks you why, you can tell her that I told you
    That I’m tired of castles in the air.

    It means to dream of something that you want to do but never really intend to do. In the song he is sick of dreaming of moving to the bush and just goes leaving the hassles and glitz of the city behind.

  6. Snoop Puss Senior Member

    Brit now living in Spain
    I've just come across the same problem. I reckon lyric writers use sky because it's easier to find rhymes.
  7. ewie

    ewie Senior Member

    Another Country
    English English
    I'd say it's still fairly common in BrE (build castles in the air), whereas the variant build castles in Spain has all but vanished.
  8. Snoop Puss Senior Member

    Brit now living in Spain
    Agreed, ewie. I've never heard anyone use the phrase building castles in Spain in BrE.

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