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  1. given to or characterized by fanciful, not presently workable, or unpractical ideas, views, or schemes: a visionary enthusiast.
  2. given to or concerned with seeing visions.
  3. belonging to or seen in a vision.
  4. unreal; imaginary: visionary evils.
  5. purely idealistic or speculative; impractical; unrealizable: a visionary scheme.
  6. of, relating to, or proper to a vision.
noun, plural vi·sion·ar·ies.
  1. a person of unusually keen foresight.
  2. a person who sees visions.
  3. a person who is given to audacious, highly speculative, or impractical ideas or schemes; dreamer.

Origin of visionary

First recorded in 1640–50; vision + -ary
Related formsvi·sion·ar·i·ness, nounnon·vi·sion·ar·y, adjective, nounun·vi·sion·ar·y, adjective


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1. impractical, impracticable. 4. fancied, illusory, chimerical. 5. unrealistic.


1. practical.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for visionary


  1. marked by vision or foresighta visionary leader
  2. incapable of being realized or effected; unrealistic
  3. (of people) characterized by idealistic or radical ideas, esp impractical ones
  4. given to having visions
  5. of, of the nature of, or seen in visions
noun plural -aries
  1. a visionary person
Derived Formsvisionariness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for visionary


"able to see visions," 1650s, from vision + -ary. Meaning "impractical" is attested from 1727. The noun is attested from 1702, from the adj., originally "one who indulges in impractical fantasies."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper