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

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Other Words from visionary


visionariness \ ˈvi-​zhə-​ˌner-​ē-​nəs How to pronounce visionariness (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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Frank Costanza had always been a visionary: bras for men, holidays for the perpetually annoyed, old TV Guides for hoarders. Nathan Mattise, Ars Technica, "A brief ode to Seinfeld’s Frank Costanza, terrible computer salesman," 16 May 2020 Some of the topics include the 2018 midterm election, visionary designers, the first time-lapse camera, the 13th Amendment to the Constitution, and the natural world. Isabel Garcia, House Beautiful, "You Can Watch These Netflix Documentary Movies and Series for Free on YouTube," 20 Apr. 2020 In 1962, Pratt himself co-authored the first architectural guide to Dallas, The Prairie’s Yield, and was an influential and visionary urban planner until his death in 2018. Mark Lamster, Dallas News, "New revelations tell why a socialist commune failed in Dallas. (Hint: it wasn’t the socialism)," 15 Apr. 2020 The 600-horsepower supercar on display in Munich typified the future for automaker BMW: bold, visionary, powerful. Morgan Korn, ABC News, "Famed composer Hans Zimmer's new score: Giving sound to an electric car," 6 Mar. 2020 In these difficult times, many CDC workers are looking for leaders such as Walter Dowdle, a CDC scientist and key visionary leader. Pierre E. Rollin, STAT, "A CDC veteran asks: Why is the agency ‘sitting on the sidelines’ in the fight against Covid-19?," 26 Mar. 2020 American business took a turn toward the mystical at around the same time, in part because of the rise of Silicon Valley, with its deification of the visionary founder, embodied by Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Mark Zuckerberg. Carina Chocano, The New Yorker, "Suzy Batiz’s Empire of Odor," 28 Oct. 2019 Which raises the question: Aside from satisfying the requests of a visionary director like Meyers, what goes into casting a good rom-com? Patti Greco, Glamour, "The Wild, True Stories Behind Casting Your Favorite Rom-Coms," 22 Oct. 2019 Many of these platforms’ leaders see themselves not as service industry titans, but as visionary technologists, their worldviews of a piece with a prevailing Silicon Valley ethos characterized by a libertarian skepticism toward government. Andrew Schwartz, The New Republic, "Gig-Working Through the Apocalypse," 8 Apr. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The name is a tribute to Orlando visionaries like Walt Disney, Arnold Palmer and astronaut John Young — men who made their wildest dreams come true right here in Central Florida. Mike Bianchi,, "Pat Williams wants to turn Tampa Bay Rays into Orlando’s baseball dream | Commentary," 16 Nov. 2019 The landscape of this Trainaceous Era was crammed with rogues, chancers, visionaries, and tightfisted despots. Anthony Lane, The New Yorker, "The Enduring Romance of the Night Train," 4 May 2020 With a partnership with electronic music visionary James Barton’s Superstruct Entertainment fueling its growth -- and an entry into China in the works -- elrow is primed to expand its global footprint even further over the next year. Judy Cantor-navas, Billboard, "Spanish Party Company Elrow Pushes the Limits of EDM by Leaning on the Absurd," 10 July 2019 The series is constantly smart about how even visionaries can have blind spots, and about the arguments over picking up the master’s tools versus knocking down the master’s house. James Poniewozik, New York Times, "‘Mrs. America’ Review: The Voice of an E.R.A.," 14 Apr. 2020 The undisputed protagonist is Adriano, a restless visionary who shepherded the company founded by his father to its midcentury zenith. Julian Lucas, Harper's magazine, "New Books," 25 Nov. 2019 In past years, industry visionaries like Shigeru Miyamoto and John Carmack were honored with the award. Elise Favis, Washington Post, "Control, Death Stranding lead BAFTA Game Awards nominations with 11 nominations each," 3 Mar. 2020 This all hinges on one small question: Can two visionaries work in tandem to create one new vision? Connie Wang,, "Can Two Master Fashion Designers Work Together Under One Label?," 24 Feb. 2020 Silicon Valley, its visionaries like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, and the entire tech revolution may not have happened without the Cold War space race. Wire Service, The Mercury News, "How NASA’s Apollo program kicked off Silicon Valley’s tech revolution," 5 Aug. 2019

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.

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First Known Use of visionary


1648, in the meaning defined at sense 2a


1702, in the meaning defined at sense 2

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Time Traveler for visionary

Time Traveler

The first known use of visionary was in 1648

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Statistics for visionary

Last Updated

25 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Visionary.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for visionary


How to pronounce visionary (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of visionary

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: having or showing clear ideas about what should happen or be done in the future
: having or showing a powerful imagination
: of or relating to something that is seen or imagined in a dream or vision (sense 3)



English Language Learners Definition of visionary (Entry 2 of 2)

: a person who has clear ideas about what should happen or be done in the future
: a person who has a powerful imagination
: a person who sees visions (sense 3)


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

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