utopian

adjective, often capitalized
uto·​pi·​an | \ yu̇-ˈtō-pē-ən How to pronounce utopian (audio) \

Definition of utopian

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : of, relating to, or having the characteristics of a utopia especially : having impossibly ideal conditions especially of social organization
2 : proposing or advocating impractically ideal social and political schemes utopian idealists
3 : impossibly ideal : visionary recognised the utopian nature of his hopes— C. S. Kilby
4 : believing in, advocating, or having the characteristics of utopian socialism utopian doctrines utopian novels

utopian

noun

Definition of utopian (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : one who believes in the perfectibility of human society
2 : one who proposes or advocates utopian schemes

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Did You Know?

In 1516 Thomas More published Utopia, a description of a fictional island in the Atlantic with an ideal society, in order to draw a sharp contrast with the disorderly political situation of his own time. He created the name from topos ("place") and ou, Greek for "no", since he was well aware that nowhere so perfect was likely to exist on earth. People have long dreamed of creating utopian communities; some of them have joined communes, societies where other idealists like themselves have chosen to live in a cooperative way according to certain principles. Not just communes but plans of all kinds have been labeled utopian by critics. But we can dream, can't we?

Examples of utopian in a Sentence

Adjective

a plan to revitalize the city's decaying downtown that proved to be overly ambitious and utopian

Noun

in the 19th century utopians founded a number of short-lived socialist communities

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

Six, utopian social planning increased housing, energy and transportation costs. Victor Davis Hanson, The Mercury News, "Hanson: Why are Western middle classes revolting against the elites?," 13 June 2019 Alarmists fret that the brick-and-mortar store is on its way to the graveyard, while Silicon Valley’s most utopian thinkers envision augmented reality and other new technologies transforming shopping beyond recognition. Shwanika Narayan, San Francisco Chronicle, "The historic San Francisco neighborhood is suddenly littered with empty storefronts. What’s the reason?," 13 June 2019 Every building that is genuinely aspirational, that promises a vision better than the current reality of the world, has its utopian potential. Philip Kennicott, Washington Post, "The TWA Hotel revives a magnificent, mid-century vision of the friendly skies," 12 June 2019 For some readers, this will veer too far into the realm of utopian fiction. Lidija Haas, Harper's magazine, "New Books," 10 June 2019 Bunch danced stylistically between the utopian and dystopian poles, and style was what the New Wave was all about. Tom Shippey, WSJ, "Science Fiction: Rediscovering a Golden-Age Treasure," 28 Dec. 2018 This unisex garb would be almost utopian, if the poor souls on screen weren’t so busy battling aliens, asteroids or each other. Jacob Gallagher, WSJ, "Who Needs Gender? Why Men and Women Are Dressing Identically," 21 Feb. 2019 Such is the case here: a spaceship departs from Earth with the mission to build a utopian civilization on a new world. Andrew Liptak, The Verge, "Our favorite science fiction and fantasy books of 2018," 21 Dec. 2018 Conventional wisdom insists that single-payer health care, job guarantees, and the like are utopian fantasies; but conventional wisdom also walked the United States directly into historic levels of wealth inequality. Sarah Jones, The New Republic, "Howard Schultz’s Third Way," 6 June 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Then there were all those annoying Tolstoyans—vegetarians, fruit-juice drinkers, utopians of every stripe—her husband encouraged to hang around the house. Joseph Epstein, WSJ, "Your Spouse Is No Prize? Maybe You Deserve a Nobel," 11 May 2018 For now, the local government seems receptive toward the crypto utopians; the governor will speak at their blockchain summit conference, called Puerto Crypto, in March. Nellie Bowles, New York Times, "Making a Crypto Utopia in Puerto Rico," 2 Feb. 2018 There have always been plenty of intellectuals and other utopians who ignore this basic truth, of course. Elliot Kaufman, National Review, "Earth to Senator Murphy: Politics Won’t Solve All of Our Problems," 28 July 2017 Digital nomadism, as an update to both the old hippie trail and get-rich-quick fantasies, unsurprisingly attracts dreamers and utopians, people prone to feelings of betrayal by those who don’t live up to their own ideals. Benjamin Wallace, Daily Intelligencer, "The Culthopping Twins Who Have Been Evangelicals, Rappers, and Digital Nomads," 12 July 2017 But if the techno-utopians get carried away in their exuberance, Taplin sometimes veers too far in the other direction. Emily Parker, Orange County Register, "‘Move Fast’ an eye-opening look at real cost of pirated music," 15 May 2017 For years, technologists and other utopians have argued that online news would be a boon to democracy. Farhad Manjoo, New York Times, "How the Internet Is Loosening Our Grip on the Truth," 2 Nov. 2016

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'utopian.' 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 utopian

Adjective

1551, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Noun

circa 1873, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Dictionary Entries near utopian

utmost

Uto-Aztecan

utopia

utopian

utopianism

utopianist

utopianize

Statistics for utopian

Last Updated

17 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for utopian

The first known use of utopian was in 1551

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More from Merriam-Webster on utopian

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with utopian

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for utopian

Spanish Central: Translation of utopian

Nglish: Translation of utopian for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of utopian for Arabic Speakers

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