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Utopia

[ yoo-toh-pee-uh ]
/ yuˈtoʊ pi ə /
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noun
an imaginary island described in Sir Thomas More's Utopia (1516) as enjoying perfection in law, politics, etc.
(usually lowercase) an ideal place or state.
(usually lowercase) any visionary system of political or social perfection.

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Origin of Utopia

<New Latin (1516) <Greek ou not + tóp(os) a place + -ia-y3
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

MORE ABOUT UTOPIA

What is Utopia?

Utopia is an ideal place or state, usually one that is unrealistic or unattainable. For example, if you love playing basketball and dislike studying, your utopia might be a place where everyone is supposed to play basketball all day and there is no school. 

Utopia, capitalized, is the name for a fictional island from Sir Thomas More’s story Utopia, which is said to be a perfect society. The book describes the society in detail, including laws, customs, and religion.

Utopia is also any imagined perfect society or political system. It is often used when discussing politics and law to describe an unreachable goal or something that is overly visionary.

Example: We don’t live in some utopia where everyone has access to clean water.

Where does Utopia come from?

The first records of the term Utopia come from 1516. More coined the term using New Latin. Literally it means “no place,” reflecting the idea that the perfect society doesn’t exist. 

The point More makes with Utopia is that because every person has a different opinion and different needs, utopia is not actually attainable. While we use utopia to generally refer to any perfect place, we’re also saying that the perfect place is unreachable or unrealistic. Though that doesn’t stop most people from trying to find or create a utopia for themselves or for the world.

You might also use utopia to describe a place that you greatly enjoy or find relaxing and peaceful. Just remember that not everyone will agree on what’s enjoyable or peaceful.

 

Did you know … ?

What are some other forms related to Utopia?

What are some synonyms for Utopia?

What are some words that share a root or word element with Utopia

What are some words that often get used in discussing Utopia?

How is Utopia used in real life?

Utopia is often used in contrast to something that is a problem. In fiction, utopia can be used with other terms to create the name of a fictional place that the author finds ideal.

Try using Utopia!

True or False?

A Utopia is a place where nothing good ever happens.

How to use Utopia in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for Utopia

Utopia
/ (juːˈtəʊpɪə) /

noun
(sometimes not capital) any real or imaginary society, place, state, etc, considered to be perfect or ideal

Word Origin for Utopia

C16: from New Latin Utopia (coined by Sir Thomas More in 1516 as the title of his book that described an imaginary island representing the perfect society), literally: no place, from Greek ou not + topos a place
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

Cultural definitions for Utopia

Utopia

(1516) A book by Sir Thomas More that describes an imaginary ideal society free of poverty and suffering. The expression utopia is coined from Greek words and means “no place.”

notes for Utopia

By extension, a “utopia” is any ideal state.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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