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 Although Mackey’s work has always frolicked in the utopian possibilities of creation, the realities of Black life in America often flash through. Hua Hsu, The New Yorker, "Nathaniel Mackey’s Long Song," 5 Apr. 2021 From the beginning, utopian language surrounded Lake Anne. Kelsey Ables, Washington Post, "Brutalist buildings aren’t unlovable. You’re looking at them wrong.," 25 Mar. 2021 Stallworth frames his idea in the murky utopian language of many tech ventures. Jack Denton, Curbed, "L.A. Start-up Advertises Nonexistent One-Quarter Bedrooms in Brooklyn Heights," 3 Mar. 2021 Also, subtly subversive political commentary: Taccola depicted a utopian world of leisure for laborers and temperate labor for the leisured. Jessica Riskin, The New York Review of Books, "When Engineers Were Humanists," 23 Feb. 2021 The original promise of the internet, as articulated in the 1996 manifesto of John Perry Barlow, was a utopian dream of disembodiment. Laurence Scott, Wired, "On the Capitalist Internet, Even Celebs Join the Gig Economy," 4 Feb. 2021 Plenty more quasi-utopian visions since then have incorporated aerial streets. Justin Davidson, Curbed, "Is a High Line Extension Really What We Need on the Far West Side?," 20 Jan. 2021 America’s ruling class is not utopian in the manner of the revolutionaries depicted in Peach Blossom Paradise. James Mcelroy, Washington Examiner, "A Chinese guide to our cultural revolution," 31 Dec. 2020 In the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany, there was a desire to create exemplary societies and utopian societies. Ben Sales, sun-sentinel.com, "Yair Netanyahu compares Israeli kibbutz movement to Nazi Germany," 18 Nov. 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

10 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Utopian.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/utopian. Accessed 10 Apr. 2021.

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