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uto·​pi·​an yu̇-ˈtō-pē-ən How to pronounce utopian (audio)
often capitalized
: of, relating to, or having the characteristics of a utopia
especially : having impossibly ideal conditions especially of social organization
: proposing or advocating impractically ideal social and political schemes
utopian idealists
: impossibly ideal : visionary
recognised the utopian nature of his hopesC. S. Kilby
: believing in, advocating, or having the characteristics of utopian socialism
utopian doctrines
utopian novels


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

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
Sinclair’s utopian dream of a postindustrial society based on leisure and marijuana never went beyond a small group of collaborators. Bill McGraw, Detroit Free Press, 2 Apr. 2024 The story was set in a fantastical past, but its cast looked like a utopian 21st-century London, with actors of British and Caribbean and Asian backgrounds all stirred together. Kabir Chibber, New York Times, 31 Mar. 2024 But their utopian existence comes under attack when their favorite crop begins to die. Mary Carole McCauley, Baltimore Sun, 26 Jan. 2024 As for Shirley, her utopian dream is making people think change is possible. David Fear, Rolling Stone, 22 Mar. 2024 The reference to the yacht’s name has had different explanations over the years, ranging from the pseudonym of a composer whose music Walker played as a child to a nod to the Beach Boys’s song from their 1988 album Still Cruisin’, which references a fictional utopian island called Kokomo. Julia Zaltzman, Robb Report, 15 Mar. 2024 A lot of readers probably think of Denmark as a utopian, egalitarian society. Dennis Zhou, The New Yorker, 26 Feb. 2024 None of those utopian or dystopian end goals will really mean much though if Worldcoin can’t dramatically increase the number of people handing over eye scans. Popular Science, 25 Jan. 2024 The last part envisions a utopian dream, filled with houses, trees and flowers, with a large hand sowing the seeds for the future. Helene Stapinski, New York Times, 29 Dec. 2023
In attempting to build a new settlement out of whole cloth, these tech moguls are following a tradition started nearly a century ago by other American industrialists, who built company towns around their mills, and utopians who built remote communities in line with their social beliefs. Irina Ivanova, Fortune, 30 Aug. 2023 But outside the Dorado Beach gates, life is far from a utopian as the decades-long crisis makes essential services, employment, and wealth inaccessible to locals, leaving Puerto Ricans unable to thrive at home. Frances Solá-Santiago, refinery29.com, 3 May 2021 Both technologies promise even more strife between the health foods crowd and Silicon Valley techno-utopians. Adrienne Bitar, Time, 28 Nov. 2019 Did Ivrea’s lefty techno-utopians run afoul of Uncle Sam? Julian Lucas, Harper's magazine, 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, 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, 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, 2 Feb. 2018 There have always been plenty of intellectuals and other utopians who ignore this basic truth, of course. Elliot Kaufman, National Review, 28 July 2017

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'utopian.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use


1551, in the meaning defined at sense 1


circa 1873, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of utopian was in 1551

Dictionary Entries Near utopian

Cite this Entry

“Utopian.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/utopian. Accessed 19 Apr. 2024.

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