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Here's one of the most meaningful visualisations of what the word daydream is about, a scene from 500 Days of Summer. I'm wondering how would I translate daydream into russian. I believe сон наяву could be the closest option, but it just doesn't sound right. Are there any better options?

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    I am not sure that the video you link to actually illustrates the word daydream. This is more like a dream sequence from an actual (sleeping) dream, where the events that happen are completely illogical but you don't realize that until you wake up. A daydream would be more like a brief pause in order to fantasize, for instance "ahh, just imagine what I could do if I won the lottery". And a pipe dream is when you take an unrealistic fantasy seriously and spend time and effort pursuing it as if it were a realistic goal. – ghostarbeiter Apr 13 '16 at 19:02
  • What do you mean by daydream? I never encountered this word, can you please explain more exactly? Сон наяву usually mean hallucinations, some illusion, or something you perceive as a sleeping dream or highlty improbable, inbelievable event to the extent you believe it is a sleeping dream even if it is real. – Anixx Apr 14 '16 at 19:52
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First of all, you need to know that Russian strictly differentiates between a sleeping-dream (сон) and a waking-dream (мечта). Сон just doesn't have any of the connotations of "dream" as it would be used in a vaguely metaphorical sense in English; instead, a non-literal use of сон would suggest slowness, unresponsiveness, or apathy, closer to the English "sleep" (which is indeed the same word in Russian).

Now грёза is the closest translation of "daydream", but it's a bookish or poetic term (to the point of being annoyingly saccharine if used unwisely); for everyday speech, a better candidate would be the plural мечты (a singular мечта is, generally, something held over a longer period of life and more goal-oriented), or the particular statement may not use "daydream" as a noun but instead be phrased around the verb замечтаться "get lost in dreams". Грёза also has a correspoding verb, грезить, which is somewhat less elated than the noun and more open to indifferent or sarcastic usage.

  • Is there really a distinction in meaning between the singular and the plural of мечта? The Ermolovich Ru-En dictionary lists both meanings for мечта (namely грёза and желание, цель), and the Большой толковый словарь does the same (third definition = О том, что нереально, неосуществимо, actually in English this would be a "pipe dream"), but doesn't make a distinction between singular and plural meanings. Wouldn't it be necessary to add an adjective, like пустая мечта or несбыточная мечта to make that meaning clear? – ghostarbeiter Apr 13 '16 at 18:48
  • Also (follow-up to my earlier comment), the word мечта has no genitive plural form, which would make it awkward to use the plural form мечты if that form had a specific meaning distinct from the singular. There is also the word мечтание and I wonder how its various possible meanings compare and contrast with мечта. – ghostarbeiter Apr 13 '16 at 18:52
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    @ghostarbeiter Мечтаний is used to work around the missing gen.pl.; the word itself doesn't see a lot of use in its other forms. You can almost think of мечтаний as a standalone, semi-suppletive genitive of мечты. (Personally, I find the demonisation of мечт to be hyper-prescriptivist nonsense, but it's still too strong. The historically correct form would have been мечёт, but the word was a plural-less uncountable noun at the time of the ultrashort elimination, so that back-formation would sound odd today.) Пустая мечта is clear enough, but the plural makes it more vivid. – Nikolay Ershov Apr 14 '16 at 0:36
  • Additionally, daydream is often used as a verb in English. Russian translation in this case is мечтать – Vitaly Apr 19 '16 at 12:46
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    @ghostarbeiter Мечты - it's just dreams without goals, no goal to fulfill them, having them is mostly enough. Some ppl may have multiple dreams and make them real, but that is rare exceptions. And if you tell to someone твои мечты - it mean actually you are highly sceptical that this person is a exception. Мечта - that is more defined state. Have мечту is good, having мечты probably not, a bit stupid, except that case, where they become the reality. – MolbOrg May 4 '16 at 1:44
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Википедия ставит кросс-ссылки на слово "мечта". "Витать в облаках" кажется немного более точно по смыслу. С отрицательной коннотацией - "считать ворон", "строить воздушные замки".

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Сон наяву is a good definition,it can be expressed by the verb грезить, there's a noun грёза-грёзы which means

грёза - светлая мечта,а также призрачное видение.(light or positive dream or illusive vision ) Пример: Погрузиться в грезы. В мире грез.

Ефремова Т.Ф. Толковый словарь русского языка.

I also liked some synonyms to this word:мечта,видение,воздушные замки,игра воображения,иллюзия,мечтание,самообман,фантазия,химера.

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The right poetic word is "Грёза", which is commonly used in plural "Грёзы", or as the verb "Грезить".

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I must say that ступор is also widely used. However ступор is a more shocked state, грёза is the most accurate translation.

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