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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Did You Know?

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 Skinner believed that humans could be conditioned like any other animal, and that behavioral psychology could and should be used to build a technological utopia where citizens were trained from birth to be altruistic and community-oriented. Tim Wu, The New York Review of Books, "Bigger Brother," 24 Mar. 2020 But after the coronavirus, utopia looms, Edelkoort suggests. Anne Quito, Quartz, "A design trends forecaster calls the coronavirus “an amazing grace for the planet”," 5 Mar. 2020 Robot & the Robots suggests a utopia when all forms of technology work in perfect harmony. Anne Quito, Quartz at Work, "Energize your meetings with empowering videos like the ones used by TED," 10 Dec. 2019 The club was an open forum, a little techno-utopia that shared with its hippie-culture counterparts an egalitarian faith in communal effort and accessibility. The Economist, "Hippie Inc: how the counterculture went corporate," 29 Nov. 2019 WeWork bought and leased cool commercial offices and transformed them into a neo-workplace utopia: Espresso machines, cozy couches, fast free wifi, shared work benches and spaces, and much more. Steve Strauss, USA TODAY, "Entrepreneurs can find lessons amid the ashes of WeWork's crash and burn," 14 Nov. 2019 In this version of utopia—your very own!—there is only bliss and the occasional curated chaos. Jason Parham, Wired, "Everything Is Becoming Paywalled Content—Even You," 3 Mar. 2020 Once Japan’s economy ossified, the new utopia of the 1990s was supposedly the emerging European Union. Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, "The Cult of West-Shaming," 30 Jan. 2020 Witnesses in the trial describe the space as both an artists’ utopia and a death trap, crammed with pianos, organs, tapestries, artwork and flammable materials. Megan Cassidy, SFChronicle.com, "Ghost Ship trial: Prosecutors use defendant’s words against him," 11 July 2019

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.

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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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Time Traveler for utopia

Time Traveler

The first known use of utopia was in 1533

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Last Updated

5 Apr 2020

Cite this Entry

“Utopia.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/utopia. Accessed 6 Apr. 2020.

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How to pronounce utopia (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of utopia

: an imaginary place in which the government, laws, and social conditions are perfect

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