uto·​pia | \ yu̇-ˈtō-pē-ə How to pronounce utopia (audio) \

Definition of utopia

1 often capitalized : a place of ideal perfection especially in laws, government, and social conditions
2 : an impractical scheme for social improvement
3 : an imaginary and indefinitely remote place

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In 1516, English humanist Sir Thomas More published a book titled Utopia. It compared social and economic conditions in Europe with those of an ideal society on an imaginary island located off the coast of the Americas. More wanted to imply that the perfect conditions on his fictional island could never really exist, so he called it Utopia, a name he created by combining the Greek words ou (meaning "no, not") and topos (meaning "place," a root used in our word topography). The earliest generic use of utopia was for an imaginary and indefinitely remote place. The current use of utopia, referring to an ideal place or society, was inspired by More's description of Utopia's perfection.

Examples of utopia in a Sentence

The town's founders wanted to create a Christian utopia. It's a nice place to live, but it's no Utopia.
Recent Examples on the Web In this utopia, workers would then receive all value created in society. Phil Gramm And Mike Solon, WSJ, 23 May 2022 On the whole, though, Etsy continues to strike a strong balance between seller utopia, buyer paradise, and Wall Street darling. Jacob Carpenter, Fortune, 12 Apr. 2022 The company’s aim at the time was in part to demonstrate the utopia of a better life as a substitute to the Nazi propaganda previously disseminated. Christopher Vourlias, Variety, 5 May 2022 Worry Darling, a psychological thriller about a 1950s couple (played by Harry Styles and Florence Pugh) living in a California desert utopia. Chelsey Sanchez, Harper's BAZAAR, 3 May 2022 The Washington Post, April 18, Elon Musk wants a free speech utopia. Emiliano Tahui Gómez, USA TODAY, 22 Apr. 2022 But the racial utopia the racy Netflix show depicts, Tribune critic Nina Metz points out, doesn’t leave much room to deal with the complicated history between England and India. Chicago Tribune Staff, chicagotribune.com, 30 Mar. 2022 Their paths converge on an unnamed planet which some see as a potential utopia, while others would use it for highly secretive research. Clark Collis, EW.com, 24 Mar. 2022 The older cohorts are nostalgic for the USSR; the younger ones have developed an image of the Soviet Union as a fairytale country, a retro-utopia where everyone is equal, everyone is free, and a stern-but-just father figure rules. Andrei Kolesnikov, CNN, 25 Dec. 2021 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'utopia.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of utopia

1533, in the meaning defined at sense 3

History and Etymology for utopia

Utopia, imaginary and ideal country in Utopia (1516) by Sir Thomas More, from Greek ou not, no + topos place

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Last Updated

26 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Utopia.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/utopia. Accessed 28 May. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on utopia

Nglish: Translation of utopia for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of utopia for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about utopia


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