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



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

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 Fifteen minutes after the last World War Joy show ended on Dec. 6, 2019, in Vancouver, The Chainsmokers sat down with Alpert in that unremarkable green room to discuss their next move, presenting a quasi-utopian vision. Katie Bain, Billboard, 6 May 2022 Wilde directs the thriller which, according to The Hollywood Reporter, centers on a 1950s housewife living with her husband in a utopian experimental community who begins to worry that his glamorous company may be hiding disturbing secrets. Lars Brandle, Billboard, 27 Apr. 2022 The Nakagin capsules suggest a kind of utopian urban life style. Kyle Chayka, The New Yorker, 28 Apr. 2022 Over the centuries, rural New York state has played host to utopian groups seeking out new, radically communal ways of life. Ben Sandman, The New Republic, 26 Apr. 2022 The ad may be set on a future farm and designed to peddle dairy products, but its pastoral setting and utopian veneer riff on the pitches of many companies seeking to present a change to workplace scenery as an upgrade in quality of life. Stephen Kearse, The Atlantic, 15 Apr. 2022 His company, Mandala, markets a utopian/dystopian product known as Own Your Unconscious, a cube that lets a user upload his or her memories, tap into the memories of others who’ve uploaded theirs and watch them all like movies. Jennifer Egan, New York Times, 29 Mar. 2022 His visionary work took the form of drawings, paintings, and writings that described a utopian, ecologically-balanced world called Eldorica. cleveland, 28 Mar. 2022 And this fear poses, to my mind, perhaps the largest challenge to Adam’s compelling and utopian vision of a public dream culture. Michael W. Clune, Harper’s Magazine , 16 Mar. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun 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 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, 12 July 2017 See More

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.

First Known Use of utopian


1551, in the meaning defined at sense 1


circa 1873, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of utopian was in 1551

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Last Updated

28 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Utopian.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/utopian. Accessed 2 Jul. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on utopian

Nglish: Translation of utopian for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of utopian for Arabic Speakers


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