10 Phrases Like “Denial Is Not Just a River in Egypt”

Idiomatic phrases are great ways to communicate in English. It’s a good way to play with words to make communication fun yet offer great meanings and messages.

A good example of an idiomatic statement is, “Denial is not just a river in Egypt.” This is an old expression that emphasizes someone who’s in denial about a fact.

This phrase isn’t very popular. So, if you’re looking for similar phrases and how to use them, you’re in the right place. In this article, I’ll explain other expressions you can use to pass the same message instead.

First, however, you’ll know the meaning of this expression.

What Is the Meaning of “Denial Is Not Just a River in Egypt?”

“Denial is not just a river” is a humorous phrase that points out that someone is refusing to accept a fact. When someone is adamant about a truth, probably because it doesn’t favor them, such a person is in denial.

So, this phrase is another way of saying someone is in denial. This old saying is a play of words, a pun on “the Nile,” a river in Egypt.

Usually, when you say someone is in denial, it means they know the truth but they’re unwilling to accept it. So, the idea of this phrase, “‘the Nile’ (denial) is not just a river in Egypt” is to point out that they’re lying to themselves humorously.

Additionally, there are different variations to the expressions: “denial ain’t just a river in Egypt,” “denial isn’t a river in Egypt,” and “denial ain’t a river in Egypt.”

Below are some examples of this expression in a sentence:

  • The lady thinks she has won the election just because she knows a few big men. She should know that denial is not a river in Egypt
  • I saw Fabian with his ex yesterday, yet he claims he doesn’t love her anymore, but we all know the truth. Maybe we should tell him that denial ain’t just a river in Egypt

10 Similar Phrases Like “Denial Is Not Just a River in Egypt”

There are countless similar expressions to “denial is not just a river in Egypt” like “delusional,” “unrealistic,” “illusive,” and “living in fantasy.”

Here are 10 major ones you should know:

  1. Delusional
  2. Unrealistic
  3. Illusive
  4. False hope
  5. In denial
  6. Pie in the sky
  7. Pretentious
  8. Living in fantasy
  9. Daydreaming
  10. Castle in the air
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Delusional

“Delusional is used to explain someone who fails to see the truth and accept it. It’s a common word that is used with someone who constantly tells himself a lie.

However, when you say someone is delusional, it doesn’t only mean they don’t accept the truth, it also means that they create a lie and believe that instead.

It entails believing what is not true, holding false judgment, or holding tight to a belief even when it’s glaring that it’s false.

In addition, it can describe someone who insists on being optimistic and not realistic even when reality says the truth clearly.

Therefore, this word describes someone who holds fast to an obvious lie. So, it’s a good alternative to “denial is not just a river in Egypt.”

Below is how you can use the expression:

  • She’s just being delusional, thinking she would survive on that meager amount.
  • Can someone tell Cynthia she’s delusional waiting on her ex who has long moved on

Unrealistic

“Unrealistic”  is another perfect word that you can use to replace, “denial is not just a river in Egypt.”

It’s the opposite of the word “realistic” and it describes someone who refuses to see the truth about a situation, especially involving a challenging one.

For instance, if it’ll be difficult for someone to get to their destination on the same day of their journey, someone who’s unrealistic would refuse to see the difficulties. They would rather believe adamantly that they’d get there that same day.

While someone might want to see this as optimism, it’s always reasonable to be both optimistic and realistic. So, an unrealistic person would adamantly be blind to the truth.

Here’s how you can use the phrase:

  • She just chose to be unrealistic, knowing fully well nothing can be done about the situation
  • You only hinder your progress when you’re unrealistic

Illusive

“Illusive” is another expression that can work to replace the phrase: “denial is not a river in Egypt.”

This word is very similar to the word” delusional” which describes someone who creates his own beliefs and refuses to see that it’s false.

Someone who is illusive creates an illusion, that is, a false mental image of something, and holds on to it.

Here’s how you can use the word:

  • Daniel knows better than to set illusive goals
  • They keep holding on to illusive dreams, it doesn’t help
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False Hopes

Hope is one of the virtues that keeps a man going in life. It’s necessary to have desires and wait expectantly even when things don’t seem like you expect.

But when you’ve false hopes it becomes a problem. False hope is hope that is built on ignorance or denial.

When you’ve confidence in something that’s obviously not going to work, you’ve false hopes. When you decide to be unrealistic and to hold on to your own beliefs despite seeing and knowing it won’t work, it’s wrong.

So, this is a good phrase that can work as a replacement for “denial is not just a river in Egypt.”

Below is how to use the expression:

  • She lives in the false hope that they can be together again. We all know that isn’t happening
  • They create false hopes for themselves, believing they’d win.

In Denial

This is a simple phrase that you can use to replace “denial is not just a river in Egypt.”

I already established that this expression describes someone who refuses to accept the truth about something and lives in denial.

So, saying someone is in denial is the most straightforward way to interpret this expression. Therefore, it’s a good alternative to “denial is not a river in Egypt.”

Below is how to use the phrase:

  • Caryn is in denial every day, waiting for her father who’s long gone
  • The family is in denial about his health

Pie in the Sky

“Pie in the sky” is another interesting idiomatic expression. This phrase isn’t very popular too. However, it’s a good alternative to “denial is not just a river in Egypt.”

When you describe something as a pie in the sky, it means it’s very unlikely to happen.

Additionally, it’s a good description of an unrealistic plan, an empty wish, or a promise. For instance, when someone promises you something you know you’d never get, you can describe their action as a pie in the sky.

Below is how you can use this expression:

  • Derek knew his talk was just a pie in the sky
  • He keeps saying he’d complete this work. Can you tell him we know it’s as good as a pie in the sky

Pretentious

“Pretentious” is another good description for someone who’s in denial or delusional.

Here, you’re emphasizing the fact that the person knows the truth but chooses to be in denial or create false hopes.

So, when someone remains adamant about reality, you can say they’re pretentious. Therefore, it’s a good alternative to the phrase, “denial is not just a river in Egypt.”

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Here’s how you can use the word:

  • He’s only being pretentious knowing fully well that this project won’t work
  • Can someone tell her to stop being pretentious about the whole affair

Living in Fantasy

“Living in fantasy” is another interesting phrase that you can use on someone who creates an illusion for themselves.

Fantasy is an interesting event that you picture in your mind or think about because you want it to happen, but it’s very unlikely to.

So, when you say someone is living in fantasy it means they’re holding on to false beliefs they create for themselves.

It’s a good replacement for the phrase, “denial is not just a river in Egypt.”

Below is how you can use the expression:

  • Most people live in fantasy and will never grow
  • She has been living in fantasy these past years

Daydreaming

Phrases Like Denial Is Not Just a River in Egypt

“Daydreaming” is another way to describe the expression “denial is not just a river in Egypt.”

This word means the same as “living in a fantasy” when someone creates pleasant thoughts about something that isn’t happening yet.

When you say someone is daydreaming in this context, it means they’re not in touch with reality and what is happening around them.

Below is how you can use the expression:

  • He told us that he’d be done by the end of the day. Can you tell him to stop daydreaming
  • My friend told us he had gotten a new girl. But we know he’s only daydreaming

Castle in the Air

This is another great expression that you can use to describe the phrase: “denial is not just a river in Egypt.

This is a popular saying that describes an action or plan that’s impossible to achieve.  When you say someone is building a castle in the air, it means they’re aiming for something impossible to get.

It’s just like saying they’re creating false hopes or being delusional.

Here’s a good way to use the expression:

  • He built a castle in the air by putting all he had into this project that had no meaning in the beginning
  • I warned him about building a castle in the air with that lady

Final Words

“Denial is not just a river in Egypt” is a humorous phrase that points out someone who doesn’t accept the truth.

It’s a funny and witty way to tell someone to stop lying to themselves or being in denial. So, multiple phrases can serve the same purpose as this expression, and I’ve listed 10 above.

Therefore, use these examples to call someone’s attention when they’re being delusional or unrealistic, and be free to use other suitable phrases too.

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