Vocabulary Lesson: Utopia

Utopia or Eutopia; homophones and a double entendre for sure…

  • Utopia is a term for an ideal society.
  • Dystopia is a negative utopia: a totalitarian and repressive world.
  • Eutopia is a positive utopia, different in that it means “perfect” but not “fictional”.
  • Outopia derived from the Greek ‘ou’ for “no” and ‘-topos’ for “place,” a fictional, this means unrealistic or directly translated “Nothing, Nowhere” This is the other half from Eutopia, and the two together combine to Utopia.
  • Heterotopia, the “other place”, with its real and imagined possibilities (a mix of “utopian” escapism and turning virtual possibilities into reality).

__________

  • Utopia: from Greek: οὐ, “not”, and τόπος, “place”.
  • Eutopis: derived from the Greek εὖ, “good” or “well”, and τόπος, “place”.

Most modern usage of the term “Utopia” incorrectly assumes the latter meaning, that of a place of perfection rather than nonexistence.  You can thank Sir Thomas Moore for this.

Originally posted 2011-10-14 02:00:45.