I have this strange ability to be able to control the events and environment in my dream. I know the term lucid dreaming means that you are aware of being in a dream, but this goes a step further. Is there a phrase to describe this kind of dreams?

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    You mean, learning is not an issue for learners? Then who is it an issue for? – Happy Apr 23 '14 at 17:17
  • To be honest, I don't think it would be worth asking, since I don't think there would be a specific term. Most people would count "volitional" dreaming (or "controlled, directed," or whatever you want to call it) as either "the same as" or "a subset of" lucid dreaming, so that's all I'd expect to see in any answers. Doubtless someone would question whether a consciously-controlled dream really is a dream at all in the traditional sense, but I can't see anything useful coming of it. – FumbleFingers Apr 23 '14 at 17:29
  • @Happy I would use conscious dream as FumbleFingers suggested myself. However, think coining a new term could be better here. Your ability reminds me of the movie Inception, where they don't just control their own dreams, they also do dream invasion! About your dream, how about: an inception (dream), an engaged dream, a bendable dream (and you're a "dream bender" :-). – Damkerng T. Apr 23 '14 at 18:53
  • A lot of dreams are about wish fulfilment. – KCH Apr 23 '14 at 19:32
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    Isn't a "user-defined dream" just a subset of lucid dreaming? – Helix Quar Apr 24 '14 at 1:34

The most common phrase seems to be dream control (Google, Google Books). I think this is also the most likely to be understood: it means more or less what it sounds like it means, so even people who haven't encountered it before will probably have no difficulty with it.

Other phrases in use include dream incubation (Google, Google Books) and dream programming (Google, Google Books).

(I found dream control by skimming through the Wikipedia article on lucid dreaming; and I found dream programming by skimming the Google Books results for dream control and seeing that one of the books mentioned it as a synonym; and I found dream incubation similarly from the results for dream programming.)


Oneironaut: From the Greek, it translates into "dream explorer". Oneironaut is a name given to those who explore and study dreams, usually while aware that they are dreaming (lucid dreamers).

  • Is there an authoritative reference, showing that this is actually an accepted word? – Edwin Ashworth Apr 10 '20 at 11:56

This is more a question about scientific terminology than the English language in general. However, the term you are looking for is simply Lucid Dreaming. In sleep studies, this is the term used when a subject is able to control the dream.

The stage when the subject is aware that they are in a dream but are unable to control it is known as Pre-Lucid Dreaming.

There are several references to this that you can find with your favourite search engine. There seems to be no agreement as to when one state changes to the other. I have seen references to degrees of lucidity, attempting to create a scale of control of the dream. Also the use of other prefixes such as semi-lucid, quasi-lucid etc. All these qualified forms relate to a lack of control, leaving Lucid Dreaming as the term for being in control.

Your best bet is probably to define the term when you use it, so as to make it clear to the reader.

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