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vi·​sion·​ary ˈvi-zhə-ˌner-ē How to pronounce visionary (audio)
: having or marked by foresight and imagination
a visionary leader
a visionary invention
: of the nature of a vision : illusory
: incapable of being realized or achieved : utopian
a visionary scheme
: existing only in imagination : unreal
: able or likely to see visions
: disposed to reverie or imagining : dreamy
: of, relating to, or characterized by visions or the power of vision
visionariness noun


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plural visionaries
: one having unusual foresight and imagination
a visionary in the computer industry
: one whose ideas or projects are impractical : dreamer
: one who sees visions : seer

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How Should You Use visionary?

A visionary is someone with a strong vision of the future. Since such visions aren't always accurate, a visionary's ideas may either work brilliantly or fail miserably. Even so, visionary is usually a positive word. Martin Luther King, Jr., for instance, was a visionary in his hopes and ideas for a just society. The word is also an adjective; thus, for example, we may speak of a visionary project, a visionary leader, a visionary painter, or a visionary company.

Choose the Right Synonym for visionary

imaginary, fanciful, visionary, fantastic, chimerical, quixotic mean unreal or unbelievable.

imaginary applies to something which is fictitious and purely the product of one's imagination.

an imaginary desert isle

fanciful suggests the free play of the imagination.

a teller of fanciful stories

visionary stresses impracticality or incapability of realization.

visionary schemes

fantastic implies incredibility or strangeness beyond belief.

a fantastic world inhabited by monsters

chimerical combines the implication of visionary and fantastic.

chimerical dreams of future progress

quixotic implies a devotion to romantic or chivalrous ideals unrestrained by ordinary prudence and common sense.

a quixotic crusade

Examples of visionary in a Sentence

Adjective She is known as a visionary leader. He had a visionary experience. Noun She's a visionary in her field. according to Greek myth, Cassandra was a visionary who was endowed with the gift of inerrant prophecy but fated to never be believed
Recent Examples on the Web
Despite such visionary local leadership, however, policymakers in Washington are poised to scuttle innovation at universities across the country. Andrei Iancu, Orange County Register, 1 Apr. 2024 Anda Pho's story shows the power of visionary leadership and the transformative impact of embracing one's unique path and potential. Angela Chan, Forbes, 27 Mar. 2024 Sievers said the founders of Renew Energy were visionary in setting up a plant for fractioning, but were ahead of their time. Karl Ebert, Journal Sentinel, 12 Mar. 2024 Port Commissioner Sandy Naranjo Transitioning from the 1980 Master Plan to our visionary final draft Port Master Plan Update embodies a pivotal shift for the Port of San Diego, deeply integrating environmental justice and equity into our core planning principles. Jennifer Van Grove, San Diego Union-Tribune, 27 Feb. 2024 Under the visionary leadership of Marty McDonald, founder and CEO of Boss Women Media, the event was meticulously crafted to create strategic pathways for impact. Ebony Flake, Essence, 26 Feb. 2024 With a portfolio that includes over 16 acquisitions in just a few years and a startling 20% market share, NCA is proof of what can be accomplished when visionary leadership and a strong, creative model are combined. Tyler Giroud, USA TODAY, 23 Feb. 2024 Time for Firewall Fireworks Arora is considered one of the more visionary leaders in networking and cybersecurity. R. Scott Raynovich, Forbes, 22 Feb. 2024 For startups around the world, Katapult serves as a beacon of hope, demonstrating the profound impact of how collaboration brings visionary ideas to life. Kate Vitasek, Forbes, 21 Feb. 2024
Drawing from experiences garnered in esteemed art institutions and galleries, the visionary leader set out to democratize art ownership, making exquisite artworks accessible to a global audience. Hilary Tetenbaum, USA TODAY, 8 Apr. 2024 But Cuban, then a rising tech entrepreneur and now an executive producer on the documentary, cites it as an example of Willis' visionary instincts. Brian McCollum, Detroit Free Press, 7 Apr. 2024 The musical output of the sisters, though distinct, has always been connected by a wink and a wave, but opera could represent a form big enough to accommodate two visionary Knowleses. Michael Andor Brodeur, Washington Post, 1 Apr. 2024 Where Travis and Donna Kelce 'Wait in Line Like Everybody Else' Who owns 1587 Prime? Kelce and Mahomes are teaming up with Noble 33 visionary founders Tosh Berman and Mikey Tanha to open 1587 Prime. Skyler Caruso, Peoplemag, 25 Mar. 2024 Founded by the visionary Tola Lawal, Gyrl Wonder has evolved into a safe space where young Black collegiate women can thrive, grow, and excel in various aspects of their lives. Ime Ekpo, Forbes, 29 Mar. 2024 One of fashion’s foremost visionaries, Pierpaolo Piccioli has left an indelible mark on the industry. Vogue, 22 Mar. 2024 The inception of the KNC School of Beauty traces back to a pivotal moment in 2020, as recounted by its visionary founder in an exclusive interview with ESSENCE. Tira Urquhart, Essence, 21 Mar. 2024 His studies of lighting and cinematography has led to a precision in its application to his storytelling as a director and visionary. Heide Janssen, Orange County Register, 17 Mar. 2024

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

Word History

First Known Use


1648, in the meaning defined at sense 2a


1702, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of visionary was in 1648

Dictionary Entries Near visionary

Cite this Entry

“Visionary.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 adjective
vi·​sion·​ary ˈvizh-ə-ˌner-ē How to pronounce visionary (audio)
: resembling a vision especially in being impractical
visionary plans for underwater cities
: likely to dream or imagine


2 of 2 noun
plural visionaries
: a person whose ideas or plans are impractical : dreamer
: a person who sees visions : seer
: one having unusual foresight and imagination
a visionary in the field of computer animation

More from Merriam-Webster on visionary

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