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

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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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 Each section of the book begins in a place that is close to idyllic but gets destroyed by those who seek to establish a utopia. James Mcelroy, Washington Examiner, "A Chinese guide to our cultural revolution," 31 Dec. 2020 America's vaccine program looks far better than Europe's catastrophic nonrollout, and the only major European country doing really well is Britain, which rather famously Brexited out of the Continent's technocratic utopia not so long ago. Ross Douthat New York Times, Star Tribune, "The twilight of the anti-Trump idols," 1 Mar. 2021 Texas has long pitched itself as a business utopia with no corporate income tax, a skilled workforce, and a low-cost of living compared to the coasts. Fortune, "‘It’s a black eye for Texas’: Power outages hinder state’s image as business utopia," 20 Feb. 2021 His powerful words – delivered through sermons, speeches and books – symbolize a utopia to which our nation always aspires. Javonte Anderson, USA TODAY, "Martin Luther King Jr.'s words of unity and truth transcend how they are often twisted," 18 Jan. 2021 Portland has long stood in the popular imagination as a liberal utopia full of offbeat, laidback inhabitants. oregonlive, "How Portland’s Andy Ngo turned his war with ‘antifa’ into a dubious, best-selling book," 13 Feb. 2021 It’s a family-friendly utopia and also a bacchanalian nightmare. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, "Sun, sand, and celluloid. These movies will transport you to Florida this winter," 3 Feb. 2021 Once again the socialist-Communist utopia of equality clashes with reality: The integration of children with special needs will not offer them any advantage, but rather more inequality and discrimination. Itxu Díaz, National Review, "Spain’s Government Declares War on the Spanish Language," 25 Nov. 2020 The future won’t be a utopia—but then, neither were the good old days. Johan Norberg, WSJ, "Why We Can’t Stop Longing for the Good Old Days," 26 Dec. 2020

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

8 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Utopia.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/utopia. Accessed 10 Apr. 2021.

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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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