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First off the word dream in most contexts does have positive connotations. When talking about dreams that people experience during sleep though the meaning becomes fairly neutral, at least as far as I'm aware.

The word nightmare means bad dream, of course. What, though, is the word for a good dream?

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The English language doesn't contain all the words a given person might desire or even expect. I think this may be one gap. But what's wrong with 'good/pleasant dream'? –  Edwin Ashworth Aug 29 at 8:32
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I am very tempted to post what we call it if it has a happy end –  mplungjan Aug 29 at 8:34
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@EdwinAshworth indeed, I'm always wondering why people think there's a single word to replace any phrase or combination of words whatsoever. –  jwenting Aug 29 at 12:38
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wet dream?..... –  ermanen Aug 29 at 13:49
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Daystallion? Seems like it'd work. –  Theik Aug 29 at 13:50

8 Answers 8

up vote 26 down vote accepted

I don't think there is a specific word for a 'good dream'. You need an appropriate adjective to qualify the dreams as good, pleasant, nice or lovely. Probably the most common adjective which is closely related to 'good' is the one used in the very common expression:

Sweet dreams!!, used to wish a good night with pleasant dreams.

See also : Sweet dreams.

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Sweet dreams is not bad, widely accepted, easily understood. –  user3306356 Aug 29 at 10:30
    
Sweet dreams isn't a noun though. OP wants one word; an adjective is cheating IMO. –  user43251 Aug 29 at 10:48
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In my answew I say that there is no one word IMO. Sweet Dreams is what I suggest as a close definition to what he is looking for! :) –  Josh61 Aug 29 at 11:22
    
@user3306356 - it would be helpful to the rest of us if you would retag your question to include other than single word requests once you have concluded that phrases or other types of answers would be suitable. A lot of people spend a lot of time trying to meet requests like this one AS IT IS STATED. We all like the challenge. You took something from us today! :_( –  Canis Lupus Aug 31 at 20:27

Common expressions are already mentioned but there is a rare single word that you can consider also:

Euneirophrenia.

peace of mind after a pleasant dream

[dictionary.reference.com]

Though, this word is more like an effect of the pleasant dream rather than the dream itself.


In the end, there might not be an exact opposite of nightmare that has a strong positive sense opposed to the strong negative sense of nightmare. [There are also phrases like bad dream and unpleasant dream, and there is anxiety dream which is considered less disturbing than nightmare.]

One reason might be that there is a semantic shift in nightmare and the word has a long history.

Meaning shifted mid-16c. from the incubus to the suffocating sensation it causes. Sense of "any bad dream" first recorded 1829 [Etymonline]

It originally means the demon or soul (incubus, succubus) that plagues sleeping people and it is based on folklore. In Germanic Folklore, there is the mara or mare, a spirit or goblin that rides on the chests of humans while they sleep, giving them bad dreams. It was likely inspired by sleep paralysis. [Wikipedia]

"night-goblin, incubus," Old English mare "incubus, nightmare, monster," from mera, mære, from Proto-Germanic *maron "goblin" [Etymonline]

[Nightmare is not related to female horse etymologically but associated with or visualized with it in collective imagination and it goes deeper in psychoanalysis.]

After all these explanation, I can conclude that fantasy comes close as an opposite of nightmare but it can also be part of a daydream. The word lost its purely imaginary connotation in everyday usage and become only happy or positive visioning that can also be part of dreams.

Sense of "whimsical notion, illusion" is pre-1400, followed by that of "imagination," which is first attested 1530s. Sense of "day-dream based on desires" is from 1926. [Etymonline]

Though, one theory says that it is what dreams are made of:

Dreams allow the repressed parts of the mind to be satisfied through fantasy while keeping the conscious mind from thoughts that would suddenly cause one to awaken from shock [Wikipedia]

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I think that the best you can have is some sort of positive adjective, followed by dream - for example:

pleasant dream

or

enjoyable dream

be careful though...

pleasurable dream

may have some unfortunate connotations that you don't mean to say.

Anther option is simply saying dream - dreams are assumed to be nice.

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Agreed. I'd be surprised to find someone that does consider dream to have a strictly positive connotation. –  John Aug 29 at 14:40
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This is also a good answer, because "word" doesn't always mean "combination of letters without a space." And adjective+noun can still be a "word" in most contexts, especially when you dealing with meaning. –  trlkly Aug 30 at 17:20

Not a perfect match but an interesting one: sweven

It is a dream but also a vision.

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+1 for teaching me a new word today –  Floris Aug 29 at 21:21
    
In Ireland some would borrow the word ailish from Irish for the same meaning, though not everyone would know it other than as a woman's name (but then not everyone would know sweven either). Neither an ailish nor a sweven is necessarily pleasant; like dream it's likely to mean that if nothing says otherwise, but one could have a horrible sweven. –  Jon Hanna Aug 30 at 20:40

I would think that dream is not neutral, but positive in its foundation. You never consider dreams to be anything but good (in writing) unless you use an adjective in conjunction with it to describe it as otherwise.

I.e.:

I had a bad dream last night, it was full of evil and distress.

I had a nightmare last night, it was full of evil and distress.

I had a terrible dream last night, it was full of evil and distress.

As opposed to:

I had a dream last night, it was full of evil and distress.

The second one suggests that it is not a nightmare, even though it was full of evil and what-not. While the first ones really denotes the nightmare aspect of it.

Also consider that dream is usually considered positive or good in it's adjective form;

Her eyes were dreamy.

In conclusion, you are probably not going to have any trouble using a simple dream as a generally good dream. If you want to emphasize the goodness of it, use an adjective, though I would not deem it necessary.

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I think reverie suits your description. According to Oxford Dictionaries:

a state of being pleasantly lost in one's thoughts; a daydream.

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Certainly the one I'd go for. –  Jon Hanna Aug 30 at 20:43

Daydream is the opposite of Nightmare!

day·dream noun \ˈdā-ˌdrēm\ : pleasant thoughts about your life or future that you have while you are awake

source

I have highlighted why it is the opposite in the above text.

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I'm asking for the word for a good dream, not a dream whilst awake. –  user3306356 Aug 29 at 10:29
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Pleasant means good. If being awake is relevant then perhaps you should rephrase the title of your question and not ask for the opposite of nightmare. –  user43251 Aug 29 at 10:31
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@user3306356 Perhaps you should read the whole question and answer it the way it is written. –  Canis Lupus Aug 29 at 11:50
    
@Canis Lupus you are assuming you must be asleep to dream, no? –  user43251 Aug 29 at 11:57
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No, but he does say "When talking about dreams that people experience during sleep". –  Tim Aug 29 at 12:51

This is not a single word, so it may be disqualified, but visions of sugar plums is an oft used metaphor to represent wish fulfilling dreams.

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