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 Merely taking the Day Law away wouldn't rebuild that utopia Fee had fostered. Maggie Menderski, The Courier-Journal, "This Kentucky college did the unthinkable by pushing integration during slavery," 5 Feb. 2020 Strange beings haunt the margins of such simulacral utopias. Julian Lucas, Harper's magazine, "New Books," 16 Sep. 2019 Black Panther dreams of an African utopia, but for American audiences, the promise of black equality emerging from its own complicated history remains. Jason Herbert, Smithsonian Magazine, "What Were the Best History Movies of the Decade?," 31 Dec. 2019 Hot tub California was a symbol of a disconnected, laid back, New Age utopia. Willie Brown, SFChronicle.com, "Mayor Pete’s California “wine cave” gives state’s image a needed makeover," 28 Dec. 2019 The first BioShock game was released in 2007, set in the underwater city of Rapture, a place born out of a vision for utopia. Nick Romano, EW.com, "Shocker! BioShock 4 announced through 2K Games' new studio," 9 Dec. 2019 The company’s vast headquarters, in Menlo Park, California, might be either the most utopian dystopia or the most dystopian utopia ever. Patricia Marx, The New Yorker, "Taking Virtual Reality for a Test Drive," 2 Dec. 2019 My mental image of the Peaceable Kingdom—the utopia that will succeed this vale of tears—definitely involves dumb ducks blithely bobbing. Nell Zink, Harper's magazine, "The Bird Angle," 28 Oct. 2019 The Golden State is on fire, which means that an idea of American utopia is on fire, too. The Conversation, oregonlive, "Ursula LeGuin foresaw dystopia that is California on fire: The Conversation," 5 Nov. 2019

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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Time Traveler for utopia

Time Traveler

The first known use of utopia was in 1533

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Last Updated

9 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Utopia.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/utopia. Accessed 27 Feb. 2020.

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How to pronounce utopia (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of utopia

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

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