utopian

adjective, often capitalized
uto·​pi·​an | \yu̇-ˈtō-pē-ən \

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

For Hellwig, the colorful circuit boards represent the bright, utopian future that computer makers promise their tech will bring about. Laura Mallonee, WIRED, "Colorful Circuit Cities Built From Motherboards, Processors, and Microchips," 11 July 2018 At last, tech companies have delivered on the utopian future that augmented reality tech had once merely hinted at. Chaim Gartenberg, The Verge, "Google’s augmented reality Measure app now works with the Pixel 2, Galaxy S9, and more," 22 June 2018 Black Panther director Ryan Coogler is certainly not the first to visualize and create a black utopian space on film. Anne Branigin, The Root, "The Wonder of Wakanda: How This Black Utopian Space Is a Game Changer for Artists and Audiences," 13 Feb. 2018 Whether this sounds utopian or dystopian is a matter of perspective. Beth Kowitt, Fortune, "How Amazon Is Using Whole Foods in a Bid for Total Retail Domination," 21 May 2018 In Vienna, Polanyi had heard socialism dismissed as utopian, on the ground that no central authority could efficiently manage millions of different wishes, resources, and capabilities. Caleb Crain, The New Yorker, "Is Capitalism a Threat to Democracy?," 7 May 2018 Erotic, ecstatic, infinite Kusama's art is erotic, utopian, ecstatic, somber at times and all-around deeply engaging. Steven Litt, cleveland.com, "Kusama's 'Infinity Mirrors' tickets plan set by Cleveland Museum of Art," 24 Feb. 2018 Now, in 2018, the familiar techno-utopian pronouncements of the 1990s and ’00s seem not just wrong but like a bad joke. Dylan Matthews, Vox, "The internet was supposed to save democracy. I asked 4 tech optimists what went wrong.," 8 June 2018 The roots of the Memorial for Peace and Justice lie in the post-utopian 1970s, in contemporary earth works and site-specific installations that combined Minimalist abstraction and scale with a Conceptualist capacity for political metaphor. New York Times, "A Memorial to the Lingering Horror of Lynching," 1 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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Learn More about utopian

Dictionary Entries near utopian

utmost

Uto-Aztecan

utopia

utopian

utopianism

utopianist

utopianize

Statistics for utopian

Last Updated

4 Nov 2018

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