utopia

noun

uto·​pia yu̇-ˈtō-pē-ə How to pronounce utopia (audio)
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

Did you know?

There’s quite literally no place like utopia. In 1516, English humanist Sir Thomas More published a book titled Utopia, which 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 (“not, no”) and topos (“place”). 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 Silicon Valley has always dreamed of building its own utopias. Kaitlyn Tiffany, The Atlantic, 5 Feb. 2024 Kate McKinnon, Issa Rae, Simu Liu, Ncuti Gatwa, Kingsley Ben-Adir, and Scott Evans also portray various Barbies and Kens in Barbie Land, the pink utopia at the center of the film, and the rest of the cast includes America Ferrera, Michael Cera, and Will Ferrell. Jessica Wang, EW.com, 4 Dec. 2023 The company pursuing a controversial plan to build a new city on bucolic Solano County farmland insists that public approval is crucial to the success of its for-profit utopia. Ethan Baron, The Mercury News, 21 Jan. 2024 Unable to bear the idea of entrusting his utopia to someone else, Cabet departed with a band of loyal followers to establish a new colony outside of St. Louis, only to die the next month after suffering a stroke. John Last, Smithsonian Magazine, 28 Nov. 2023 The logline: In this immersive dating experience, four fabulous friends in their fifties who are looking for a love do-over will leave their busy city lives for a dating utopia. Marc Berman, Forbes, 29 Nov. 2023 It has been seen variously as a deity or an oracle; a world rife with life or hopelessly sterile; a setting for utopias, dystopias, even Ziggy Stardust. Michael Saler, WSJ, 27 Dec. 2023 Muhammed’s idea of a utopia is a world that is beautiful because everyone is being their true selves. Kerane Marcellus, Essence, 13 Dec. 2023 All of this talk of which of these possible utopias one prefers serves to distract us from the everyday reality of violent oppression. Isaac Chotiner, The New Yorker, 28 Nov. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'utopia.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

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

First Known Use

1533, in the meaning defined at sense 3

Time Traveler
The first known use of utopia was in 1533

Podcast

Dictionary Entries Near utopia

Cite this Entry

“Utopia.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/utopia. Accessed 24 Feb. 2024.

Kids Definition

utopia

noun
uto·​pia yu̇-ˈtō-pē-ə How to pronounce utopia (audio)
1
often capitalized : a place of ideal perfection especially in laws, government, and social conditions
2
: an impractical scheme for social improvement
utopian
-pē-ən
adjective or noun
Etymology

from Utopia, name of an imaginary ideal country in a book Utopia written by Sir Thomas More 1478–1535 English statesman and author; from Greek ou "not, no" and Greek topos "place"

Word Origin
In 1516 the English statesman Sir Thomas More published a book that compared the condition of his England to that of a perfect and imaginary country, Utopia. Everything that was wrong in England was perfect in Utopia. More was trying to show how people could live together in peace and happiness if they only did what he thought was right. But the name he gave his imaginary country showed that he did not really believe perfection could ever be reached. Utopia means, literally, "no place," since it was formed from the Greek ou, meaning "no, not," and topos, "place." Since More's time, utopia has come to mean "a place of ideal perfection." Over the years many books similar to Utopia have been written, and many plans for perfect societies proposed, most of them impractical. Utopia has also come to mean any such scheme or plan.

More from Merriam-Webster on utopia

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!