uto·pia | \ yu̇-ˈtō-pē-ə \

Definition of utopia 

1 often capitalized : a place of ideal perfection especially in laws, government, and social conditions

2 : an impractical scheme for social improvement

3 : an imaginary and indefinitely remote place

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Synonyms & Antonyms for utopia


Camelot, Eden, Elysium, heaven, never-never land, paradise, promised land, Shangri-la, Zion (also Sion)



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Did You Know?

In 1516, English humanist Sir Thomas More published a book titled Utopia. It compared social and economic conditions in Europe with those of an ideal society on an imaginary island located off the coast of the Americas. More wanted to imply that the perfect conditions on his fictional island could never really exist, so he called it Utopia, a name he created by combining the Greek words ou (meaning "no, not") and topos (meaning "place," a root used in our word topography). The earliest generic use of utopia was for an imaginary and indefinitely remote place. The current use of utopia, referring to an ideal place or society, was inspired by More's description of Utopia's perfection.

Examples of utopia in a Sentence

The town's founders wanted to create a Christian utopia. It's a nice place to live, but it's no Utopia.

Recent Examples on the Web

This was Mendocino utopia: a place on the edge of the continent, where nature at its most untrammeled is on display, and freedom seems absolute. Jody Rosen, Smithsonian, "This Secret Corner of California Is a Paradise for Lovers of Great Food and Top-Notch Wines," 14 June 2018 Faena sees himself not as a real estate developer but as a conjurer of utopias, and Tierra Santa is clearly his most personal creation. Christopher Bagley, Condé Nast Traveler, "Alan Faena Creates La Vie Bohème in José Ignacio, Uruguay," 18 June 2018 Well, a loss of authority for the Church, which has led to a socialist utopia in Spain and an immediate backlash from a certain Gen. Franco. Tom Shippey, WSJ, "Science Fiction: A New Novel Destined to Be a Classic," 28 June 2018 The promised utopia of infinite streaming, diverse festival bills and more respectful dudes at shows is, to put it mildly, not turning out quite like idealists hoped, especially for newer or independent acts. August Brown, latimes.com, "On new record 'Burn,' Little Boots tries to see if the future really is female," 9 May 2018 Presiding over this seeming utopia was Dwight Eisenhower. The Economist, "Under the surface of Eisenhower’s era," 3 May 2018 The team makes no apologies about their decision to exclude men from this utopia. Katy Steinmetz, Time, "Women-Only Spaces Are Part of a Coworking Craze. Some Might Also Be Violating the Law," 20 Apr. 2018 Its leader, Pol Pot, set on creating an agrarian utopia, wiped out the nation’s intellectuals and middle class and killed around two million people. Elizabeth Williamson, New York Times, "Behind the Bar, Mixing Drinks With Aid for a Faraway Home," 9 July 2018 Whether authors make arguments that changes to history could have resulted in a modern utopia or dystopia, all seem eager to delve into the historical record in search of opportunities to break it. Lorraine Boissoneault, Smithsonian, "What if Napoleon Hadn’t Lost Europe and Other Questions of Alternate History," 14 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'utopia.' 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 utopia

1533, in the meaning defined at sense 3

History and Etymology for utopia

Utopia, imaginary and ideal country in Utopia (1516) by Sir Thomas More, from Greek ou not, no + topos place

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Last Updated

7 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for utopia

The first known use of utopia was in 1533

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English Language Learners Definition of utopia

: an imaginary place in which the government, laws, and social conditions are perfect

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Comments on utopia

What made you want to look up utopia? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


alleviating pain or harshness

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