- We expect to be able to be middle class as far as income if we both work. We both have 4 year degrees in criminology. Do we have a chance? Or is this a pipe dream? I don't mind living in a neighborhood, as long as I can have a fenced yard.

- What does "a pipe dream" mean in this context?

Thanks very much to moderators!

Original Post
Hi Namcoolguy

A "pipe dream" is something that is not realistically attainable.

In the context, the person is wondering whether what he is hoping for is actually an impossible dream (a pipe dream).
Amy's right.

Here's the derivation:

Main Entry: pipe dream
Function: noun
Etymology: so called from the fantasies brought about by the smoking of opium [with an opium pipe]
: an illusory or fantastic plan, hope, or story

Citation format for this entry:

"pipe dream." Webster's Third New International Dictionary, Unabridged. Merriam-Webster, 2002. http://unabridged.merriam-webster.com (18 Nov. 2009).

[The words in the brackets are mine.]

The stress is on the first syllable: PIPE dream.

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