Living the dream is an idiom that probably originated in the United States. An idiom is a commonly used word, group of words, or phrase that has a figurative meaning that is not easily deduced from its literal definition. Often using descriptive imagery or metaphors, common idioms are words and phrases used in the English language in order to convey a concise idea, and are often spoken or are considered informal or conversational. English idioms can illustrate emotion more quickly than a phrase that has a literal meaning, even when the etymology or origin of the idiomatic expression is lost. An idiom is a metaphorical figure of speech, and it is understood that it is not a use of literal language. Figures of speech like an often-used metaphor have definitions and connotations that go beyond the literal meaning of the words. Mastery of the turn of phrase of an idiom, which may use slang words or other parts of speech common in American slang or British slang, is essential for the English learner. Many English as a Second Language students do not understand idiomatic expressions and idiomatic language such as hit the sack, spill the beans, let the cat out of the bag, silver lining, back to the drawing board, barking up the wrong tree, kick the bucket, hit the nail on the head, face the music, under the weather, piece of cake, when pigs fly, and raining cats and dogs, because they attempt to translate them word for word, which yields only the literal meaning. English phrases that are idioms should not be taken literally. In addition to learning vocabulary and grammar, one must understand the phrasing of the figurative language of idiomatic phrases in order to know English like a native speaker; it is helpful to maintain a list of phrases, common expressions, colloquial terms, and popular expressions to memorize that are used figuratively or idiomatically. We will examine the meaning of the common idiom living the dream, where it came from, and some examples of its idiomatic usage in sentences.
Living the dream means that someone is living his best life; that he is achieving the goals he wants to achieve; that he has all the material comforts and/or relationships that he wants to have. The expression living the dream came into use at the end of the twentieth century and is presumed to reference the American Dream, which is the belief that prosperity, freedom, and success is available to all who work hard in the United States. Living the dream is an idiom that is sometimes used sarcastically, to mean that one is not actually living ideally.
Author Karen Perry on living the dream on a six-month sabbatical in France: ‘Life settled into a new and slower rhythm’ (Independent)
Bryson DeBerry is living the dream, one that a few short years ago didn’t seem like a possibility. (Plainview Herald)
‘King-Cat’ cartoonist John Porcellino says he is living the dream in Beloit. His dream, anyway. (Chicago Tribune)