utopia

noun

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

Did you know?

There’s quite literally no place like utopia. In 1516, English humanist Sir Thomas More published a book titled Utopia, which 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 (“not, no”) and topos (“place”). 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.

Example Sentences

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 Although each 40-minute piece is set in a pastoral utopia, with French shepherds celebrating Louis as the king of the gods, the two offerings didn’t enjoy the same success. Jeffrey Gantz, BostonGlobe.com, 28 Nov. 2022 The first Black Panther delves into the nation of Wakanda, a mythical, high-tech African utopia powered by the magic metal Vibranium, which is mined only within its closed borders. David Sims, The Atlantic, 8 Nov. 2022 People who imagined utopia-like futures ended up being less satisfied with the status quo and were less likely to justify current systems. WIRED, 9 Nov. 2022 The space is oddly a democratic utopia of luxury: Anyone can sign up online to book an appointment. Liana Satenstein, Vogue, 4 Nov. 2022 Though surveys show that a majority of women will jump at a flexible work schedule if offered, home is not a utopia. Ellen Mcgirt, Fortune, 19 Aug. 2022 With money accumulated from the faithful, Dowie bought 6,000 acres of land in Lake County, Illinois, hoping to establish a Christian utopia. Deepa Bharath, ajc, 1 Oct. 2022 National Grid’s green energy plans look like a carbon-free utopia. Time, 27 Sep. 2022 Celebrations of the utopia that will emerge with the demise of the combustion-engine automobile may be a bit premature. Mark Yost, WSJ, 8 Sep. 2022 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.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

1533, in the meaning defined at sense 3

Time Traveler
The first known use of utopia was in 1533

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Dictionary Entries Near utopia

Cite this Entry

“Utopia.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/utopia. Accessed 8 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

utopia

noun
uto·​pia yu̇-ˈtō-pē-ə How to pronounce utopia (audio)
1
often capitalized : a place of ideal perfection especially in laws, government, and social conditions
2
: an impractical scheme for social improvement
utopian
-pē-ən
adjective or noun

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