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

Lerner positions poetry within his novels as an alternative or utopian site that is always abstract. Christine Smallwood, Harper's magazine, "Novel, Essay, Poem," 16 Sep. 2019 Inspired by the Black Panthers, the Shakers and other utopian movements, Ayofemi felt that small, everyday gestures — a free breakfast, a working chair — can hold a lot of power. Janelle Bitker, SFChronicle.com, "What if a black artist reimagined urban development for Oakland’s black community? Binta Ayofemi is," 29 Aug. 2019 That may sound utopian, but Rosenfeld suggests a hardheaded justification. Caleb Crain, The New Yorker, "State of the Unions," 19 Aug. 2019 Its leaders have spoken about the Internet’s utopian possibilities: allowing maximum transparency, with everybody having a say. Washington Post, "With online poll, Italy moves closer to formation of a new government," 4 Sep. 2019 The only major anniversary festival to have ever be held at the original farmsite in Bethel, New York -- which despite a week’s worth of music, tens of thousands of attendees and a utopian sense of community has been almost completely lost to time? Bobby Olivier, Billboard, "The Forgotten Woodstock: The Oral History of Woodstock '89, The Impromptu Little Festival That Could," 15 Aug. 2019 Here’s your Teen Vogue starter guide to demystify this most utopian vision. Teen Vogue, "What is Universal Basic Income (UBI)?," 20 Aug. 2019 And they might be seen as exemplars of a school of national painting that fused ideas about landscape with ideals of governance, a body of work that not only delighted the eyes, but engaged the mind in utopian speculation. Philip Kennicott, Washington Post, "Philadelphia might have been a sylvan Athens. Instead, we got Washington, our muddy Rome.," 1 Aug. 2019 The question remains: Can New Harmony thrive while retaining a connection to its utopian roots? Diana Budds, Curbed, "This small Indiana town is a hotbed of utopianism," 5 Aug. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

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 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

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Last Updated

23 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for utopian

The first known use of utopian was in 1551

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with utopian

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for utopian

Spanish Central: Translation of utopian

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Britannica English: Translation of utopian for Arabic Speakers

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