Merriam-Webster Word of the Day: Utopia

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day is utopia. Read on for what it means, how it’s used, and more.

What It Means

The word utopia refers to “a place of ideal perfection,” with the perfection in question often pertaining to laws, government, and social conditions. 

// Her vision of utopia was a world where no one ever went hungry or lived in fear of war.

UTOPIA in Context

“This year’s Essence Festival activation plans to be bigger, more immersive, and further integrated than ever before. Centered around the idea of a Black utopia, Afrotropolis 3.0 will be an innovative 360-degree wonderland curated to intersect Black culture, creativity, artistry and technology with exciting opportunities for festival attendees to discover, explore, and further build their network.” — Black Enterprise, 5 July 2022

Did You Know?

There’s quite literally no place like utopia. In 1516, English humanist Sir Thomas More published a book titled Utopia, which compared social and economic conditions in Europe with those of an ideal society on an imaginary island located off the coast of the Americas. More wanted to imply that the perfect conditions on his fictional island could never really exist, so he called it “Utopia,” a name he created by combining the Greek words ou (“not, no”) and topos (“place”). The earliest generic use of utopia was for an imaginary and indefinitely remote place. The current use of utopia, referring to an ideal place or society, was inspired by More’s description of Utopia’s perfection.

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