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Hope vs. Dream: What's the Difference?

Edited by Janet White || By Harlon Moss || Published on February 21, 2024
Hope is a feeling of expectation and desire for a specific thing to happen, while a dream is a series of thoughts, images, and sensations occurring in a person's mind during sleep.

Key Differences

Hope is an emotional state or feeling, often reflecting a desire for a positive outcome or the belief that something good will happen. Dream, however, generally refers to the experiences and images that occur in the mind while sleeping, often a mix of memory, imagination, and emotion.
Hopes are typically rooted in reality and can be practical or achievable, driven by a person's aspirations or desires in real life. Dreams, in contrast, are not bound by the constraints of reality and can be fantastical, surreal, or even nonsensical.
In daily life, hope is often used in the context of looking forward to something or wishing for a particular outcome, such as hoping for good weather. Dreams are usually discussed in the context of sleep or as metaphorical aspirations ("life dreams").
Linguistically, hope can be used both as a noun and a verb ("I hope for peace," "They hope to succeed"), reflecting a desire or wish. Dream is primarily a noun when referring to sleep experiences and a verb when referring to aspirations ("She dreams of becoming an artist").
Hope can have a significant positive psychological impact, fostering optimism and resilience. Dreams can influence emotional states but are often disconnected from the person's waking life, serving as a reflection of subconscious thoughts or desires.

Comparison Chart


Emotional desire or wish
Mental images during sleep


Often realistic
Can be fantastical


Aspiration for future
Sleep state or life aspiration


Noun and Verb
Noun (sleep), Verb (aspiration)


Promotes optimism
Reflects subconscious thoughts

Hope and Dream Definitions


A feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.
She clung to the hope that her lost dog would be found.


A cherished aspiration, ambition, or ideal.
His dream of becoming a pilot finally came true.


Grounds for believing that something good may happen.
He does see some hope of a peaceful resolution.


A series of thoughts, images, and sensations occurring in a person's mind during sleep.
She had a strange dream about flying.


To want something to happen or be true.
I hope you get the job you've applied for.


To contemplate the possibility of doing something or that something might be the case.
I wouldn't dream of making fun of you.


A person or thing that may help or save someone.
The new treatment offered a hope for patients with the condition.


An unrealistic or self-deluding fantasy.
Thinking we'll win the lottery is just a dream.


A feeling of trust.
We must hope that common sense prevails.


A person or thing perceived as wonderful or perfect.
Her new car is an absolute dream.


To wish for a particular event that one considers possible
We are hoping for more financial support.


A series of images, ideas, emotions, and sensations occurring involuntarily in the mind during certain stages of sleep.


A daydream; a reverie.


Can dreams be controlled?

Dreams during sleep are largely uncontrollable, but daydreams or life aspirations can be guided by conscious thought.

Is hope necessary for survival?

While not physically necessary, hope can be crucial for mental and emotional well-being.

Can hope exist without a dream?

Yes, hope can exist independently as a desire for something to happen, even without a specific dream.

Can dreams influence our hopes?

Yes, dreams, especially aspirations and ambitions, can shape and inspire our hopes.

Is hope always positive?

Generally, hope is considered positive, fostering optimism, but it can be unrealistic or lead to disappointment.

Do hope and dreams change over time?

Yes, both can evolve with life experiences, changing circumstances, and personal growth.

Are dreams the same as goals?

Dreams can be goals if they are aspirations or ambitions, but not all dreams are goals.

Can lack of hope affect health?

Yes, a lack of hope can lead to stress, depression, and other health issues.

Can hope be measured?

Psychologically, hope can be assessed through questionnaires and scales.

Are dreams always a reflection of desires?

Not always; while some dreams reflect desires or fears, others can be random or nonsensical.

Can hope be harmful?

Unrealistic hope can lead to disappointment, but generally, it is seen as beneficial.

What causes vivid dreams?

Factors like stress, sleep disorders, medications, and substance use can cause vivid dreams.

Are dreams always meaningful?

Not all dreams have deep meanings; some are just reflections of daily life or random thoughts.

Can everyone dream?

Most people dream, but some may not remember their dreams.

Does hope have a scientific basis?

Psychological research supports the benefits of hope in coping with stress and adversity.

Are nightmares considered dreams?

Yes, nightmares are a type of dream, usually with frightening or stressful content.

Do animals dream?

Scientific evidence suggests that many animals do experience dream-like states.

Does everyone have the same capacity for hope?

Individual experiences, personalities, and circumstances vary, so the capacity for hope can differ.

How does culture influence hope?

Cultural background can shape what people hope for and how they express hope.

Is dream analysis scientifically valid?

While some aspects of dream analysis are considered speculative, others have psychological relevance.
About Author
Written by
Harlon Moss
Harlon is a seasoned quality moderator and accomplished content writer for Difference Wiki. An alumnus of the prestigious University of California, he earned his degree in Computer Science. Leveraging his academic background, Harlon brings a meticulous and informed perspective to his work, ensuring content accuracy and excellence.
Edited by
Janet White
Janet White has been an esteemed writer and blogger for Difference Wiki. Holding a Master's degree in Science and Medical Journalism from the prestigious Boston University, she has consistently demonstrated her expertise and passion for her field. When she's not immersed in her work, Janet relishes her time exercising, delving into a good book, and cherishing moments with friends and family.

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