From Middle English dreem, possibly from Old English drēam (“joy, pleasure, gladness, delight, mirth, rejoicing, rapture, ecstasy, frenzy, music, musical instrument, harmony, melody, song, singing, jubilation, sound of music”), from Proto-Germanic *draumaz, *draugmaz (“festivity, dream, ghost, hallucination, delusion, deception”), from Proto-Germanic *draugaz (“delusion, mirage, illusion”), from Proto-Indo-European *dʰrAugʰ-, *dʰreugʰ- (“to deceive, injure, damage”); meaning influenced in Middle English by Old Norse draumr (“dream”), from same Proto-Germanic root. Cognate with Scots dreme (“dream”), North Frisian drom (“dream”), West Frisian dream (“dream”), Low German Droom, Dutch droom (“dream”), German Traum (“dream”), Danish drøm, Swedish dröm (“dream”), Icelandic draumur (“dream”). Related also to Old English drēag (“spectre, apparition”), Dutch bedrog (“deception, deceit”), German Trug (“deception, illusion”).
The derivation from Old English drēam is controversial, since the word itself is only attested in writing in its meaning of “joy, mirth, musical sound”. Possibly there was a separate word drēam meaning “images seen while sleeping”, which was avoided in literature due to potential confusion with “joy” sense, which would account for the common definition in the other Germanic languages, or the derivation may indeed simply be a strange progression from “mirth, joy, musical sound”.
Attested words for “sleeping vision” in Old English were mǣting (Middle English mæte, mēte), from unclear source, and swefn (Modern English sweven), from Proto-Germanic *swefną, from Proto-Indo-European *swepno-, *swep-; compare Ancient Greek ὕπνος (hypnos, “sleep”).
(third-person singular simple present dreams, present participle dreaming, simple past and past participle dreamed or dreamt or drempt (dated))
- (intransitive) To see imaginary events in one's mind while sleeping.
- (intransitive) To hope, to wish.
- (intransitive) To daydream.
- Stop dreaming and get back to work.
- To envision as an imaginary experience (usually when asleep).
- I dreamed a vivid dream last night.
- (intransitive) To consider the possibility (of).
- I wouldn't dream of snubbing you in public.
From Middle English dremen, possibly (see above) from Old English drīeman (“to make a joyous sound with voice or with instrument; rejoice; sing a song; play on an instrument”), from Proto-Germanic *draumijaną, *draugmijaną (“to be festive, dream, hallucinate”), ultimately from Proto-Indo-European *dʰrAugʰ-, *dʰreugʰ- (“to deceive, injure, damage”). Cognate with Scots dreme (“to dream”), West Frisian dreame (“to dream”), Dutch dromen (“to dream”), German träumen (“to dream”), Swedish drömma (“to dream, muse”), Icelandic dreyma (“to dream”).