work like a dream: Idiom Meaning and Origin

What does ‘work like a dream’ mean?

The idiom work like a dream means that something is functioning perfectly or very well, without any problems or difficulties.

Idiom Explorer

The Mythical Efficiency

The idiom "work like a dream" is commonly used in American English to describe something that functions exceptionally well or smoothly. It emphasizes the efficiency and effectiveness of the object, system, or plan in question, highlighting its flawless performance. The phrase "like a dream" suggests that the action or process unfolds effortlessly, just as a dream occurs seamlessly and without interruption.

In this idiom, the word "work" refers to the action or operation of a mechanism, tool, or even a person. However, it should be noted that in this particular idiom, "work" is not limited to physical labor but rather encompasses a broader meaning of functioning, accomplishing, or achieving a desired outcome.

The use of the word "like" introduces a simile, comparing the smoothness and ease of the functioning or performance to that of a dream. Dreams are often associated with a sense of effortlessness and perfection, as they occur in our minds without any conscious control or interruption. Therefore, saying that something "works like a dream" signifies its ideal functionality or execution.

This idiom can be used in various contexts, both in professional and personal settings. For example, one might say that a new computer software program "works like a dream" if it operates flawlessly and meets all user expectations. Likewise, people might use this expression to describe a recipe that produces a meal that tastes delicious and is executed with ease.

Additionally, the idiom "work like a dream" can be used metaphorically to describe the successful accomplishment of a plan or project. It suggests that the process of achieving the desired outcome was smooth, efficient, and free from complications or obstacles. The idiom underscores the notion of a task being completed effortlessly and perfectly, resembling the idealized nature of dreams.

Work towards your dream.

The idiom "work like a dream" conveys the idea of something functioning exceptionally well or smoothly, much like the seamless unfolding of a dream. This figurative usage emphasizes the efficiency and success of a task, whether it involves the operation of a device, the execution of a plan, or the accomplishment of a project. By using this idiom, individuals can effectively express their satisfaction and admiration for something that has been executed with perfection and grace.

The idiom "in one's dreams" is closely related to "work like a dream." It is used to express skepticism or doubt regarding the possibility or likelihood of a particular outcome. When someone says "in one's dreams," they are essentially saying that the described situation or result is highly unlikely or unrealistic. This idiom adds a touch of humor or sarcasm to the conversation, as it implies that the idea being discussed is purely wishful thinking.

For example, if someone suggests that they could easily beat a professional tennis player, another person might respond with "in your dreams!" This response effectively dismisses the first person's claim as unrealistic or improbable. By contrast, when someone says that something "works like a dream," they are emphasizing its exceptional performance and efficiency.

The idiom "like a champ" is another related expression that shares similarities with "work like a dream." It is used to describe someone or something that performs exceptionally well or effortlessly in a particular task or situation. When someone does something "like a champ," it means they do it with skill, confidence, and success.

This idiom is often used to praise and commend someone for their extraordinary performance. For example, if a soccer player scores a goal with ease and skill, their teammates might say, "You played like a champ out there!" Similarly, if a chef prepares a delicious meal with precision and flair, they may be complimented by saying, "You cooked like a champ tonight."

The idiom "work like a dream" conveys the idea of something functioning exceptionally well or smoothly. It emphasizes the efficiency and success of a task, whether it involves a device, a plan, or a project. This idiom can be used in various contexts and provides a way to express satisfaction and admiration for something executed with perfection. Additionally, the idioms "in one's dreams" and "like a champ" are closely related and offer alternative ways to express skepticism or praise for a particular outcome.

Example usage

Examples of how the idiom *work like a dream* can be used in a sentence:

  1. Her new laptop works like a dream; it's fast and efficient.
  2. After repairing the engine, the car now works like a dream; it runs smoothly without any issues.
  3. The new software update works like a dream; it has fixed all the previous bugs and glitches.

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