Words Worth Knowing: Utopia

Have you ever heard the song Imagine by John Lennon? In this song, he talks about a perfect world, a world without countries.  This is a world with all the people living together in peace, without greed or hunger. The world he wishes is a Utopia.

Utopia.  This is one of the most beautiful words existing. Everyone has imagined a utopian holiday place, a utopian future in life, or a utopian relationship with some famous attractive artist. Let’s give a look to this word and figure out what exactly does it mean and where it came from!


Utopia Dictionary Definition

Utopia: noun. An imagined place or state of things in which everything is perfect. (Oxford Dictionaries).

Utopia: noun. Any visionary scheme or system for an ideally perfect society. (Collins English Dictionary).


People use this word pretty often.  And that’s not all.  It has also has been used mixed with other words to create new imaginary impossible scenarios, such as:

  • Dystopia: an imaginary place where everything is as bad as it can be.
  • Protopia: a state that is improving every day, where people don’t aspire to eliminate every problem but to change old problems for new different ones.
  • Zootopia: a dream city, from Disney’s animated movie, populated by talking animals and where “everything is possible”, even impossible dreams.


Here are some examples of the use of this fantastic word:

− “In this future utopia, all one will need is a working smartphone, assuming the Russians haven’t hacked it yet; one simple app will summon your mobility to your door in mere minutes”.

From the Star-telegram website Article: Technology’s Blown Engine. 2018

− “Millennials have vast opportunities and challenges to reach their ultimate Utopias”.

From Sunday World Website Article: There’s no financial Utopia for millennials. 2018

− “2008 doesn’t seem that long ago, but the world was a very different place back then. Wikipedia and the democratization of knowledge were utopian ideals, and social media addiction wasn’t listed as a psychological disorder”.

From Greenpeace Website Article: What a green and peaceful future could look like. 2018


The Ideal Imaginary Island

Although Utopia is a word widely used nowadays, it was not invented for an antique society, as most of the words. It was coined by just one man, in the early 16th-century.  His name was Thomas More.  He wrote a book titled “Of a republic’s best state and of the new island Utopia” (Just “Utopia” for later versions). This book was about an idealistic island where all legal, social, and political systems are perfect.   On the island, there was permanent peace, and laws were fair and equitable for all, women or man.

No doubt Thomas More was a dreamer, but he knew this idealistic island was not really possible.  Perhaps that’s why he felt the necessity to invent a more accurate word for his dream: “Utopia”, which means “No-place” from the Greek ou “not” + topos “place”.

Almost a century later, around the year 1610, people started using the word in the same way we use it today.  They used it to refer to any perfect place, society or dreamed lifestyle.

So don’t hesitate to keep creating your own utopias.  In truth, although there is not such a thing like perfect things, wishing for perfection is the only path to improvement!

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