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 But this technology is proving to be dramatically more difficult than utopian tech barons have predicted. Ryan Cooper, TheWeek, "The real potential of the electric vehicle revolution," 17 Feb. 2020 The utopian ideal may have been unrealistic, even damaging, but a sweet trace of romance remains. BostonGlobe.com, "WELLESLEY — Kanishka Raja, a painter who died last year at 49 from cancer, forcefully and exuberantly made art that dissolved boundaries. The work now feels urgent, and like a salve.," 24 Oct. 2019 Like a utopian vocational school, Bauhaus students could take workshops in weaving, carpentry, metalworking, furniture making, stage design, ceramics, painting and, later on, architecture. Wendy Moonan, Smithsonian Magazine, "The Pioneering Work of Graphic Artist Herbert Bayer," 4 Feb. 2020 Unlike the great revolutions of 1789, 1917 or even 1968, the upheaval of 1989 was not powered by newfangled ideas or utopian visions. The Economist, "The ironies of revolution A love affair with liberal democracy that soured," 9 Jan. 2020 Soviet cultural exchanges during the late Cold War (Radiotopia’s Spacebridge) or the strange history of utopian communities (Curbed’s Nice Try!). Hugh Eakin, Harper's magazine, "Selective Hearing," 19 Jan. 2020 Um-Helat is outwardly utopian, too, and Jemisin paints just as vivid a picture: The slanting afternoon sun stretches golden over the city, reflected light sparkling along its mica-flecked walls and laser-faceted embossings. Jason Kehe, Wired, "The 20 Best Books of a Decade That Unmade Genre Fiction," 29 Dec. 2019 In 1915, Charlotte Perkins Gilman—a feminist, futurist, and activist—published a serial story about an all-women utopian society hidden in a jungle. Curbed Staff, Curbed, "Can utopia ever exist?," 18 July 2019 In the American foreign policy discussion, socialists are often presented as gormless naifs — people whose utopian projects might sound good in theory, but who can't be trusted to exercise real power in a dangerous world. Ryan Cooper, TheWeek, "Bernie Sanders is America's best hope for a sane foreign policy," 7 Jan. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Both technologies promise even more strife between the health foods crowd and Silicon Valley techno-utopians. Adrienne Bitar, Time, "The Turkey Has Been the Subject of Thanksgiving-Day Arguments for Longer Than You Probably Think," 28 Nov. 2019 Did Ivrea’s lefty techno-utopians run afoul of Uncle Sam? Julian Lucas, Harper's magazine, "New Books," 25 Nov. 2019 Early cyberspace utopians thought censorship would soon be obsolete: the internet would treat it as a broken node and route around it. The Economist, "The unacknowledged legislators of the online world," 14 June 2019 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

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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Time Traveler for utopian

Time Traveler

The first known use of utopian was in 1551

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Last Updated

25 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Utopian.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/utopian. Accessed 25 Feb. 2020.

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More from Merriam-Webster on utopian

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for utopian

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with 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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