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What Do Dreams Mean? The Most Common Dream Meanings Explained

What Do Dreams Mean? The Most Common Dream Meanings Explained

We dream multiple times every night. Some last just five minutes, others can last up to an hour, but it’s rare that you wake up and remember this. However, when you do remember your dream, it is often a jumble of images and can have you scratching your head, puzzled about what it could possibly represent.

The Meaning of Dreams

If you’ve found yourself in a situation like this and are wondering about dreams and their meanings, we’ve got you covered. Take a look below for a list of some of the most common dreams and what they mean:

Getting lost
Work or your career

(click above to jump to each section)


What Do Dreams About Animals Mean?

animal dream

Dreaming about wild animals is thought to strongly reflect our primal instincts and, perhaps, an untamed and uncivilised aspect of our lives.

It is thought that to dream of a wild animal denotes a struggle we are experiencing with fighting some area of our primal self and each specific animal is thought to have a different representation of the area we are repressing:

Alligator/Crocodile - aggression and treachery
Apes – agitation, mischief or deception
Bears - introspection and thoughtfulness
Bull – power and stubbornness
Camel – carrying too much emotional baggage
Cats – bad luck, misfortune or unrealistic expectations
Deer – grace, compassion and meekness
Dogs – loyalty and fidelity
Dolphins – emotional trust and intelligence
Elephant – patience and introversion
Fox – cunning and insight
Goat – gullibility and lack of judgement
Hippopotamus – strength and aggression
Horse – endurance, power and virility
Kangaroo – nurture and over-protection
Lamb – vulnerability, innocence and purity
Lion – courage, dominance and aggression
Octopus – clouded judgement or over-possession
Otter – playfulness and happiness
Panda – childishness or difficulty in compromising
Rabbit – warmth, abundance and fertility
Rat – envy, greed and guilt
Shark – hostility, anger and fierceness
Snakes – a warning, hidden worries or fears
Spider – trapped, insecurity or left out of a situation
Tiger – power and the need to take control
Tortoise – longevity, perseverance and determination
Wolf – pride, self-confidence and solitude


What Do Dreams About Cars Mean?

car dream

Dreaming about cars is thought to symbolise your control and, depending on the situation your dream is about, can represent that control in a variety of situations.

For instance, if you dream about being in the backseat of a car, then this could be interpreted as a feeling of not being in control, being overpowered by your emotions, or that someone in your life is being controlling.

Likewise, to dream of being in a car you cannot control (such as if the brakes don’t work or you have no control over the speed) may also correspond to your feelings about your own life.

The way you operate the car is thought to be significant in how you deal with decision making in your life, and confidence in the car may directly correlate to your own persona.

The type of car you dream about is also considered important, with pregnant women tending to drive heavy cars, vulnerable people driving cheap and run-down models, and people who are experiencing success dreaming of extravagant cars.

Dreams that involve buying a new car are thought to represent a new direction in your life, which could mean a new relationship, new job or simply a new approach to life. Dreaming of a car that has been stolen, meanwhile, is thought to represent loss.

It’s common for older people to dream of cars that become damaged or worn out, and this can be thought to represent the ageing process.


What Do Dreams About Chases Mean?

dream chase

Chase dreams are relatively common and stem from one of our most basic functions – the ‘fight or flight’ response. Being chased is thought to represent situations that you may be avoiding. You may believe that a certain issue in your waking life is impossible to surmount and it may be causing you stress.

Being chased - Being chased in a dream can also relate to feelings of guilt, insecurity or anxiety.

The person or thing chasing you is thought to be relevant to the interpretation of your dream, and they may represent somebody you are avoiding conflict with. Specifically, if you dream that your father is chasing you then it could symbolise your inability to make the right decision, even though you know you must.

Being chased in a dream is also thought to represent avoidance of illness or feelings of pressure.

Chasing someone or something -
Conversely, if you are chasing something in your dream, this can suggest that you are ambitious, but lacking in motivation.

In either scenario, the distance between the chaser and who or what is being chased is thought to be relevant. If the gap is wide, the problem or issue is not an imminent concern, whereas if the gap is closing, it represents the fact that the issue is not going to go away.

A more literal interpretation of chase dreams is a fear of being attacked.


What Do Dreams About Death Mean?

death dream

Though they can be upsetting, dreams about death are not usually considered to be a bad omen, but rather represent some form of change in your life – a transitional phase at work, a new partner or even your own personality. These can be both positive or negative changes.

To dream about your own death is thought to represent a need to escape some element of your personal life, daily routine or even a person. If people are laughing at you as you die, this could represent your own feelings about other people treating you insensitively.

The subject of your dream is considered an important part of the decoding, as is the manner of the death.

Dreaming about a child dying is symbolic of either resolving a problem or the loss/failure of an ambitious project.

To experience the death of your parents in a dream is thought to be a reflection of an inability to make effective and positive choices in our lives, with particular emphasis on our mothers symbolising intuition and our fathers our conscience.

In a more general sense, dreaming of bad people dying is thought to represent our overcoming negative aspects of our life with positive behaviour, and vice versa with good people.


What Do Dreams About Failure Mean?

failure dream

It is thought that to experience a dream about failure represents feelings of inadequacy, anxiety and low self-esteem. These dreams may follow a rejection in your waking life, or a situation in which you have not performed as you would have liked.

Dreams of failure can mean you are experiencing stress, and pressures in your waking life are getting on top of you.

Individuals who frequently dream of failure may be pessimistic people who expect to fail and do not invest enough effort in believing in themselves. In this respect, it could also represent a fear of success.

Failure can also be interpreted as your mind recognising that, although you may have made some mistakes, you have an opportunity to learn from them. It is also thought to signify poor organisation or planning.

It’s thought that the significance of who or what has failed in your dream is important in finding the meaning. If someone else is experiencing failure in the episode, it may be that you have a need to support someone in your waking life. Looking at what has failed could also be key, as is considering why it failed and what can be learned from the situation.


What Do Dreams About Falling Mean?

falling dream

Falling can be quite a common dream over an entire population, although it occurs infrequently in individuals. Often, people are found to comment that they experienced a jolt as they ‘land’ on the bed or other surface.

Dreaming about falling is thought to symbolise a warning signal about things that are out of control in your life. It is believed to be the mind’s way of telling you to exercise caution in some area of your life.

For others, it is believed to be a sign of exhaustion, and that the falling signifies that you have no support and are close to ‘burning out’. It is also thought to be a sign of stress over financial difficulties.

A dream where you are falling unafraid is thought to mean that you don’t take life seriously, that you are complacent about things and have let go of responsibility.

Ultimately, falling is thought to denote a sense of freedom, though this can have negative connotations when it relates to responsibilities. Contrary to popular believe, hitting the ground after falling does not mean you are dying; it is thought to represent a loss of power or status, or that you have hit ‘rock bottom’.

Falling from a tall building specifically is thought to represent a fear of failure, particularly over something you have previously had total confidence in.


What Do Dreams About Flying Mean?

flying dream

Most people have had a dream where they are flying, and it is one of the few dreams that is referred to as ‘lucid’, meaning that the sleeper can take control of some aspect of the dream.

Dreams in which people fly are often described as liberating. Soaring through the air is believed to represent the ultimate freedom, where you are able to accomplish your dreams without fear holding you back.

Flying is said to symbolise an escape from burden, transcending barriers and limits. They can occur after an enjoyable or uplifting experience, or following achievement in your waking life.

People who spend their time in a creative or performance-based capacity often dream of flying, as it’s thought to be a reflection of releasing their inhibitions.

It’s a more common dream to have when we are younger, and this is believed to be because we are less playful, less liberated and more closed to new opportunities as we age.

Flying can sometimes be thought to represent negative connotations if it reflects on a hedonistic life, or if you are avoiding responsibility.

If you are afraid of flying in your dream, this may signify that you are out of control when it comes to your freedoms; perhaps you are wasting time or money.

Flying in your dreams can also represent a new perspective and you may be able, or need, to see something from a fresh angle.

Dreams about flying can also be said to represent the ego and a tendency to look down on others. The dreamer may feel undefeatable and superior, and need to get some perspective on their confidence.


What Do Dreams About Food Mean?

food dreams

Whilst the type of food you dream of is thought to have individual symbolism, food in general can represent prosperity. Conversely, if you are dreaming of not having enough food, this could be interpreted as not having the wealth you desire.

Meat - thoughts that are sustaining or animalistic

Fruit - positive thoughts or sensuality

Vegetables - nourishment or healthy thoughts

Some interpretations of food in dreams can take a more literal sense and could relate to areas of your diet that you need to look at, such as allergies, unhealthy aspects or even creative recipes.

Storing food - If you are hoarding or storing food in your dream, it is thought that this could suggest you are feeling deprived.

Bad taste - If the food you eat in a dream tastes bad, it could represent feelings of resentment or exhaustion.

Burnt food - To dream of burnt food can signify that you are not well prepared for something, or that you are being over eager towards an event in your life. It is also thought to suggest that you are feeling underwhelmed about something, perhaps expecting to be disappointed by a hyped-up event.

The origin of the food is also thought to have specific meanings for some individuals, with home-cooked food being linked to a yearning for your childhood or home, and exotic food representing a desire for new experiences.


What Do Dreams About Forests Mean?

forests dream

Like many examples from literature, dreaming of a forest is taken to represent feelings of confusion and being lost. It can mean that you have lost self-confidence and you feel insecure and unsettled.

It might be that you have had some support taken away from you, and you have lost an important sense of security. It can also be interpreted as feeling uncertain or unsatisfied about an issue.

Woods can also represent life, fertility and your own spiritual nature.

If you’re walking through the forest, it can indicate that you are experiencing a period of change and that you should trust their instincts. Conversely, it could also be interpreted as an escape from a complicated and demanding life.

If you dream that you are lost in a forest, this is thought to mean you are doing a degree of soul searching and seeking to understand yourself better.

Dreams where the forest is on fire could mean that you are angry, and it is affecting people close to you.

The fire can be taken to mean regeneration, but only as a result of hardship. Finding your way out of the forest could signify that you are clear of a dangerous phase in your waking life.


What Do Dreams About Getting Lost Mean?

lost dream

It is thought that to dream of being lost can indicate a feeling of insecurity, uncertainty or lack of direction. It has also been associated with being unprepared for something or needing clarity.

Such dreams are believed to represent a sense of loss in your life, whether this is from losing a partner, job, or something else significant. Being lost could also be interpreted as being too dependent on someone else emotionally.

Lost whilst driving -
Certain interpretations suggest that to dream of being lost whilst driving can mean you are not seeing the big picture, and are concentrating too much on the detail of a situation.

Lost in a forest - If you dream of being lost in the woods, it could suggest that you are confused and unclear about where to begin to solve your problems.

Lost in fog - Dreams of being lost in fog are thought to relate to being unable to get clarity on a situation, leaving you feeling confused.

Lost and cannot get home - If you dream you are lost and cannot get home, this may be interpreted as a feeling of needing something to make you happy.

An overall sense of feeling lost in your dreams is thought to mean you need to prioritise your life before making an important decision.


What Do Dreams About Hair Mean?

hair dream

Dreaming of hair is believed to have strong correlations to health, vanity and sensuality.

The style of hair that you dream about is thought to have a direct correlation with the way you think.

Messy or tidy hair - If you dream of messy hair then your thinking is likely to be cluttered and self-critical, whereas tidy hair suggests you are a logical and systematic thinker. Messy hair could also suggest some confusion in your life, and the fact you are unable to think clearly.

Cutting or styling hair - If you cut your own hair in a dream, it’s believed to mean you are losing strength or that you are making changes in your life to eliminate bad habits.

Grooming your hair is understood to be associated with vanity, but can also suggest you are considering making a big change in your life and need to assess before you do so.

Hair colour - The colour of the hair you dream about is also believed to have an influence on the dream’s meaning, with:

- white hair suggesting that you are making or should make positive changes in your life
- black hair supposedly representing negative thoughts and having a fearful outlook.
- orange/red hair representing shocking behaviour done in an attempt to get attention
- blood-red hair purportedly representing cheating on, lying to, or being angry with someone


What Do Dreams About Music Mean?

music dream

Though we don’t physically hear in our dreams, you can dream that you are listening to music and to do so is thought to represent feelings of harmony and being bonded to something or someone.

The type of music is considered very important to the interpretation and the lyrics may also be relevant. The key to understanding the significance is to consider how the music makes you feel and whether the lyrics reflect some event, situation or emotion in your waking life.

Out of tune - If the music you dream of is out of tune or discordant, then this could indicate unhappiness, worries and a lack of harmony.

Playing Music - To dream that you are playing music for others is thought to symbolise a desire to influence others by projecting your stories, mood or ideas on other people.

Interpretations of music can also be influenced by the type of instrument and source of the music you hear being played, with some examples being:

Guitars - a desire to take a more dominant role
Saxophones - romantic or sensual desires
Radios - a connection to the rest of the world
Choirs - group harmony
Organs - dexterity


What Do Dreams About Nudity Mean?

To dream of being nude is thought to relate to feelings of vulnerability and can point to a private aspect of your life being made public. It’s believed to correlate with feelings of embarrassment, awkwardness and being unprotected. It may also signify an invasion of your privacy.

Dreaming about nudity can be interpreted by some in both a negative or positive way, depending on how you feel in the dream. If you are not bothered by your nakedness then it is thought to suggest empowerment, confidence and openness – the feeling of being unencumbered and free.

Shy or hiding nudity - If, however, you are shy of your nudity then it can be thought to relate to feelings of shame and being caught out over some dishonesty.

If you try to hide your nudity in your dream, it can be thought to symbolise your fear that a truth will be exposed, or the fact you have something to hide.

Other people nude - If your dreams involve seeing other people naked, then this could be interpreted as seeing a truth in an otherwise clouded judgement of a situation. If everyone is naked but you, this is thought to mean you are being overcritical of others.

The location of your nudity can also have a bearing on its interpretation:

- Nudity at work might suggest an uneasiness about covering up mistakes
- Nudity at the beach can be thought to suggest uncertainty about something and not being able to hide from it
- Nudity at school is believed to coincide with anxiety about not being able to escape a situation


What Do Dreams About School Mean?

school dream

Broadly, schools in a dream are believed to symbolise a place where you think and learn. This can be translated to areas of your waking life, where you find yourself over-thinking a situation or something you are deeply concerned about.

Dreaming about schools is thought to be representative of our social lives and can have both positive and negative connotations.

Negatively, dreaming of a school can reflect anxiety, insecurity, and worry over your performance or a sensitive issue in your life. It could also mean that you have concerns over making mistakes and feeling inadequate when it comes to being prepared for some form of test or event.

In a positive interpretation, a dream involving a school may reflect your work life or a project you are deeply involved in. It may represent your desire to perform well in these areas, and the fact that you are enjoying learning from these experiences.

The lessons you attend during the dream are thought to have particular meaning, with history believed to indicate that you may need to reflect on a situation, and mathematics perhaps highlighting a difficult problem that requires precision in your attention.


What Do Dreams About Teeth Mean?

teeth dreams

Dreaming of teeth is believed to be a direct reflection on our self-confidence and how we feel about ourselves. This can be as simple as our appearance or in our talents.

Older people - People who are growing old or sensitive to ageing may dream about teeth falling out, and it is thought to represent losing one’s looks.

Young people - In younger people, losing teeth can represent low self-esteem, lack of confidence, or even losing status, money or power.

Losing all your teeth - When all teeth are lost in a dream, this can mean a total loss of these things but can also represent misfortune or poor health. Being toothless can also mean you are afraid people will see your shortcomings.

The rather peculiar dream that your entire mouth is full of teeth is taken to mean that the dreamer is overly defensive and aggressive about something they’ve done.

Rotting teeth - Dreams where teeth are rotting are thought to directly relate to something the dreamer has said that was hurtful or false, and is feeling a sense of guilt.

Clean teeth - If you dream of shiny, clean teeth, it is thought you are content and happy.

Wisdom teeth - Dreams specifically about the wisdom teeth are believed to relate to acquiring new knowledge or the need to think on a situation more clearly.


What Do Dreams About Work or Your Career Mean?

work dream

Dreams about working, the workplace and our co-workers are deciphered by dream interpreters in many ways. While they could reflect an actual situation going on in our waking life, it is thought that elements of the workplace can also be symbolic.

If you dream about your current job, it may suggest that you have feelings of needing to work harder and to be more productive, whereas dreams of your old job are thought to suggest regression into a more comfortable place; it can also be interpreted as the need to apply an old lesson to a new scenario.

Your boss - To dream about a boss can indicate a literal interpretation of feeling a lack of control over elements of your life, or that you are being ‘bossed around’. It can represent a feeling of obligation to a decision or task that cannot be ignored.

Being the boss - If you dream about being a boss, then this can be taken to represent your self-confidence, authority and assertiveness.

A colleague - Dreaming about a colleague who you know is thought to mean that you see a quality in them that is reflected in your own life.

Job seeking - Dreams about looking for work, meanwhile, are believed to suggest feelings of frustration and a lack of fulfilment in an aspect of your life.

Losing a job - Dreams about losing your job are thought to be indicative of insecurity and instability.


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