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 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
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective As articulated in Shift Two, thinking across the enterprise and the marketplace to connect the dots into more integrated, visionary futures is foundational to Enterprise Leadership. Kevin Cashman, Forbes, "Enterprise Leadership: New Leadership For A New World," 11 May 2021 Meditating while repeatedly reciting a brief poem of Madurakavi’s in honor of Nammālvār, both men appear to him in a visionary trance, and Nāthamuni receives the Tiruvāymoli directly from the poet and his first devotee. Whitney Cox, The New York Review of Books, "Lovesick for a God," 11 May 2021 Mixed Blood under Reuler has been visionary in other ways. Rohan Preston, Star Tribune, "Mixed Blood Theatre founder Jack Reuler to step down in July 2022," 30 Apr. 2021 Subsequent history blurred the visionary nature of Mondale’s liberalism in the Senate. Walter Shapiro, The New Republic, "Walter Mondale’s Visionary Liberalism Is Still Echoing Today," 20 Apr. 2021 The investment program started with $2 billion to invest in visionary companies that aim to facilitate the transition to a low-carbon economy. Wsj Staff, WSJ, "Read Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’s Letter to Shareholders," 15 Apr. 2021 There was something unhappily poetic about knowing that her visionary paintings were locked up tight inside the shuttered museum, unavailable to be seen. Los Angeles Times, "Review: The glorious mysteries of Agnes Pelton’s desert paintings, on view in Palm Springs," 14 Apr. 2021 When Community Foods debuted in the summer of 2019, it was hailed as a visionary store committed to the people in greatest need in West Oakland. Janelle Bitker, San Francisco Chronicle, "Pandemic may force West Oakland's mission-driven grocery store to close due to declining sales," 8 Apr. 2021 Elio Fiorucci, the visionary designer-entrepreneur, snatched up 50 for his shop in Milan. Marella Caracciolo Chia, ELLE Decor, "This Textile Designer’s Vibrant Milan Abode Hums With Her Creative Spirit," 22 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Time and time again, Lilly has proven herself as a creative visionary and storyteller who captivates and engages audiences. Sydney Bucksbaum,, "A Little Late With Lilly Singh ending after 2 seasons," 6 May 2021 But if anyone were troubled by this ominous reference, Markram’s confidence and charisma, his reputation as a visionary and a genius, would most likely have swept away doubts., "Can a computer generate a simulation of the brain?," 22 Apr. 2021 And what’s more threatening to the status quo than a visionary? Hilton Als, The New Yorker, "Alice Neel’s Portraits of Difference," 19 Apr. 2021 The idea and some of the money came from Ebenezer Howard, a farmer turned urban visionary who wanted to strike a balance between polluted, slummy cities and boring villages. The Economist, "Welwyn Garden City The fight to preserve a pioneering planned town," 17 Apr. 2021 But Anheuser-Busch InBev and Goose Island were such an odd pairing — the world’s largest beer company and that scrappy Chicago visionary — that the greater meaning was hard to divine. Josh Noel,, "Goose Island sale 10 years later: Anheuser-Busch got what it needed from the deal, but what’s left for Chicago beer drinkers is more complicated.," 27 Mar. 2021 Seeing What No One Else Does A visionary can see things that no one else can imagine. Roy Ferman, Forbes, "You May Not Be A Visionary Leader If Everybody Agrees With You," 12 Mar. 2021 Former Chula Vista police Chief Richard Emerson, a visionary who led the force for 18 years, died peacefully Friday, the Police Department announced this week. David Hernandez, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Former Chula Vista police chief Richard Emerson dies at 70," 6 Apr. 2021 What about a visionary who turns visions into reality? Norman B. Gildin,, "Are you a leader or a follower? | Opinion," 2 Apr. 2021

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

14 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Visionary.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 16 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for visionary



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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