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

Idiomatic expressions serve as delightful tools for effective communication in English, allowing for a playful manipulation of language while conveying profound meanings and messages.

A classic illustration of an idiomatic statement is, “Denial is not just a river in Egypt.” This age-old expression vividly underscores someone who is unwilling to accept a certain reality.

While this particular phrase might not be widely recognized, there are numerous similar idioms that can be employed to convey the same message. In this article, I will elucidate alternative expressions that can effectively substitute for the mentioned phrase.

Before delving into these alternatives, it’s essential to grasp the essence of the original expression.

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

The phrase “Denial is not just a river” is a witty expression highlighting someone’s reluctance to acknowledge a certain truth. It humorously suggests that when an individual adamantly rejects a fact, it is often because the truth is unfavorable to them, indicating a state of denial.

Therefore, this phrase serves as an alternative way to convey that someone is in denial. This age-old saying cleverly plays on words, utilizing a pun on “the Nile,” a renowned river in Egypt.

Typically, when referring to someone in denial, it implies they are aware of the truth but are unwilling to accept it. The essence of the expression “‘the Nile’ (denial) is not just a river in Egypt” lies in humorously highlighting the self-deception inherent in such situations.

Moreover, there are various iterations of this expression, such as “denial ain’t just a river in Egypt,” “denial isn’t a river in Egypt,” and “denial ain’t a river in Egypt.”

Here are a couple of examples incorporating this expression in sentences:

  1. The lady believes she secured the election solely because of her connections with influential individuals. However, it’s essential for her to recognize that denial is not a river in Egypt, metaphorically pointing out her self-deception.
  2. Witnessing Fabian with his ex yesterday contradicts his claim that he no longer has feelings for her. Perhaps it’s time to remind him that denial ain’t just a river in Egypt, indicating the need for him to acknowledge the truth.

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

Numerous phrases akin to “denial is not just a river in Egypt” exist, each conveying the idea of refusing to accept reality. Some alternatives include “delusional,” “unrealistic,” “illusive,” and “living in fantasy.” Here are ten prominent expressions you should be familiar with:

  1. Wishful thinking
  2. Ignoring the truth
  3. Turning a blind eye
  4. Avoiding reality
  5. Feigned ignorance
  6. Building castles in the air
  7. Fanciful thoughts
  8. Dismissing the facts
  9. Not facing the music
  10. Refusing to acknowledge reality
  11. Lost in a dreamworld
  12. Creating a false narrative
  13. Choosing the path of ignorance
  14. Deceptive self-assurance
  15. Ignoring the writing on the wall
  16. Engaged in wishful dreaming
  17. Living in a bubble of denial
  18. Refusing to see the obvious
  19. Selective perception
  20. Burying one’s head in the sand
  21. Delusional
  22. Unrealistic
  23. Illusive
  24. False hope
  25. In denial
  26. Pie in the sky
  27. Pretentious
  28. Living in fantasy
  29. Daydreaming
  30. Castle in the air


“Unrealistic” is indeed an excellent term that can effectively replace the expression “denial is not just a river in Egypt.” It stands in stark contrast to the term “realistic” and characterizes someone who refuses to acknowledge the truth, especially in challenging situations.

For instance, consider a scenario where it’s challenging for someone to reach their destination on the same day of their journey. An unrealistic individual would stubbornly disregard the difficulties and insist on the belief that they will reach their destination on the same day.

While some might perceive this as optimism, it is crucial to balance optimism with realism. An unrealistic person tends to steadfastly ignore the reality of the situation.

Here are examples of how you can incorporate this phrase into sentences:

  1. She opted to be unrealistic, fully aware that nothing can be done to alter the situation.
  2. Progress is impeded when one chooses to be unrealistic about their circumstances.


“Delusional” is a fitting term to describe someone who not only refuses to accept the truth but actively constructs and believes in a falsehood. It is commonly used for individuals who consistently deceive themselves by embracing a lie.

When you label someone as delusional, it signifies more than just a denial of reality; it implies the creation and staunch belief in a fabricated narrative. This involves accepting what is not true, maintaining false judgments, or persisting in a belief even when the evident reality contradicts it.

Moreover, the term can be applied to someone who insists on maintaining an optimistic outlook without grounding it in reality, even when the truth is apparent.

In essence, “delusional” serves as a robust alternative to “denial is not just a river in Egypt.” Here are examples illustrating how to use this expression:

  1. She’s simply being delusional, convincing herself that she can survive on that meager amount.
  2. Can someone inform Cynthia that she’s delusional for waiting on her ex, who has long moved on?


“Illusive” is indeed a suitable expression that can effectively substitute for the phrase “denial is not a river in Egypt.” It bears a close resemblance to “delusional,” signifying an individual who fabricates their own beliefs and adamantly rejects the recognition of their falsehood.

In the context of “illusive,” it goes a step further by suggesting the creation of an illusion—a deceptive mental image that one clings to despite its falseness.

Here’s how you can incorporate the term into sentences:

  1. Daniel is aware enough not to set illusive goals, understanding the importance of grounded aspirations.
  2. They persistently cling to illusive dreams, which ultimately proves unproductive and unhelpful.

Pie in the Sky

“Pie in the sky” is, indeed, an intriguing idiomatic expression that serves as a noteworthy alternative to “denial is not just a river in Egypt.” Although not widely used, it effectively conveys the idea that something is highly improbable.

When you label something as a “pie in the sky,” it implies that it is not only unlikely to happen but also characterizes an unrealistic plan, an empty wish, or an unattainable promise. For example, if someone makes a commitment that you know will never materialize, you can aptly describe their assurance as a “pie in the sky.”

Here’s how you can integrate this expression into sentences:

  1. Derek was well aware that his talk was nothing more than a pie in the sky, lacking substance or feasibility.
  2. Despite his repeated claims of completing the work, it’s essential to convey to him that we are aware it’s as good as a pie in the sky—an unrealistic and improbable assertion.


“Daydreaming” serves as another apt description for the expression “denial is not just a river in Egypt.” It essentially conveys the idea of creating pleasant thoughts about something that has not yet come to pass, akin to “living in a fantasy.”

When you assert that someone is daydreaming in this context, it implies that they are disconnected from reality and are immersed in wishful thinking.

Here’s how you can use this expression in sentences:

  1. He assured us that he would finish the task by the end of the day. Kindly inform him to stop daydreaming, as the deadline is approaching.
  2. Our friend claimed he had acquired a new girlfriend. However, we are well aware that he is merely daydreaming, painting an idealized picture that doesn’t align with reality.


“Pretentious” is indeed an apt term to describe someone who is in denial or delusional, emphasizing the idea that the person is aware of the truth but consciously chooses to ignore it or create false hopes.

When you label someone as pretentious in this context, it highlights their intentional act of remaining adamant about reality. Therefore, it stands as a fitting alternative to the expression “denial is not just a river in Egypt.”

Here are examples illustrating how to use the term in sentences:

  1. He’s only being pretentious, fully aware that this project is unlikely to succeed.
  2. Could someone please inform her to stop being pretentious about the entire affair, acknowledging the need to confront the reality of the situation?

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