vi·​sion·​ary | \ ˈvi-zhə-ˌner-ē How to pronounce visionary (audio) \

Definition of visionary

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : having or marked by foresight and imagination a visionary leader a visionary invention
2a : of the nature of a vision : illusory
b : incapable of being realized or achieved : utopian a visionary scheme
c : existing only in imagination : unreal
3a : able or likely to see visions
b : disposed to reverie or imagining : dreamy
4 : of, relating to, or characterized by visions or the power of vision


plural visionaries

Definition of visionary (Entry 2 of 2)

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

Other Words from visionary


visionariness \ ˈvi-​zhə-​ˌner-​ē-​nəs How to pronounce visionary (audio) \ noun

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

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.

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: Adjective People who are big picture thinkers are highly visionary and look beyond the current reality to imagine what could be. Gabriella Goddard, Forbes, 31 Jan. 2022 The other puts another statue on the shelf of visionary director Guillermo del Toro. J. Kim Murphy, Variety, 1 Dec. 2021 To Klaus, the post-pandemic moment requires similarly visionary thinking. Christina Tkacik,, 9 July 2021 Who better than the visionary founder of the world’s largest online entertainment empire to square that circle, to fashion a formula that will work for a fifth of the global population? Wired, 20 July 2022 Your visionary views might be more drastic than the crowd is comfortable with, so preparing some rebuttals would be a good idea -- just in case! Chicago Tribune, 17 July 2022 One of the world’s most visionary sci-fi writers, Stephenson just launched Lamina1, a layer 1 blockchain for the open Metaverse, after years of working as Chief Futurist at Magic Leap, where the Metaverse was one of the company’s north stars. Cathy Hackl, Forbes, 16 July 2022 Meanwhile, visionary minds at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, have come up with some concepts for robots that could explore these worlds in ways akin to science fiction. Ashley Strickland, CNN, 16 July 2022 Perhaps the most visionary statesman of the 21st century, Shinzo Abe was shot and killed in the city of Nara while delivering a speech on the campaign trail. The Editors, National Review, 9 July 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Chris Hemsworth plays Steve Abnesti, described as a brilliant visionary who runs a state-of-the-art prison. Andy Meek, BGR, 11 June 2022 In the United States and elsewhere, the company has benefited from fanatically loyal buyers who regard Mr. Musk as a visionary and are willing to wait months or years for the company’s cars. New York Times, 20 May 2022 West is remembered by the music community as a visionary who fulfilled musical dreams. Lars Brandle, Billboard, 7 Apr. 2022 What Lurhmann grasps is that the Vegas years, in their white-suited glitz way, were trailblazing and stupendous — and that Col. Parker, in his greedy way, was a showbiz visionary for booking Elvis into that setting. Owen Gleiberman, Variety, 25 May 2022 She’s a trailblazer, a hustler, a visionary, the original influencer, a living-breathing piece of art. Jackie Strause, The Hollywood Reporter, 9 Mar. 2022 Japan's former prime minister will be missed, not only as a friend, but also as the master visionary of a free and open Indo-Pacific based on the Quad alliance. Arthur Herman, National Review, 8 July 2022 Whereas Iger would establish a reputation as a visionary with a facility for dealing with creative talent, Chapek came up through businesses such as home video and consumer products, which are more about monetizing content than creating it. Ryan Faughnderstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 26 June 2022 On November 28, 2021, the fashion industry lost a visionary and disruptor, Virgil Abloh. Cassandra Pintro, Vogue, 21 May 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'visionary.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of visionary


1648, in the meaning defined at sense 2a


1702, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Learn More About visionary

Time Traveler for visionary

Time Traveler

The first known use of visionary was in 1648

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near visionary




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for visionary

Last Updated

6 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Visionary.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Aug. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for visionary


vi·​sion·​ary | \ ˈvi-zhə-ˌner-ē How to pronounce visionary (audio) \
plural visionaries

Kids Definition of visionary

: a person who has an exceptional ability to plan or have ideas for the future

More from Merriam-Webster on visionary

Nglish: Translation of visionary for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of visionary for Arabic Speakers


Test Your Vocabulary

The Great British Vocabulary Quiz

  • union jack speech bubble
  • Named after Sir Robert Peel, what are British police called?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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