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Utopia (pronounced /juːˈtoʊpiə/) is an ideal community or society possessing a perfect socio-politico-legal system.[1] The word was imported from Greek, by Sir Thomas More for his 1516 book Utopia, describing a fictional island in the Atlantic Ocean. The term has been used to describe both intentional communities that attempted to create an ideal society, and fictional societies portrayed in literature. It has spawned other concepts, most prominently dystopia.

The word comes from the Greek: οὐ, "not", and τόπος, "place". The English homophone Eutopia, derived from the Greek εὖ, "good" or "well", and τόπος, "place", signifies a double meaning.



The concept of a utopia is largely based on Plato's Republic.[2] It is a perfect version of Republic wherein the beauties of society reign (e.g.: equality and a general pacifist attitude), although its citizens are all ready to fight if need be. The evils of society, e.g.: poverty and misery, are all removed. It has few laws, no lawyers and rarely sends its citizens to war, but hires mercenaries from among its war-prone neighbors (these mercenaries were deliberately sent into dangerous situations in the hope that the more warlike populations of all surrounding countries will be weeded out, leaving peaceful peoples). The society encourages tolerance of all religions. Some readers, including utopian socialists, have chosen to accept this imaginary society as the realistic blueprint for a working nation, while others have postulated that More intended nothing of the sort. Some[who?] maintain the position that More's Utopia functions only on the level of a satire, a work intended to reveal more about the England of his time than about an idealistic society. This interpretation is bolstered by the title of the book and nation, and its apparent confusion between the Greek for "no place" and "good place": "utopia" is a compound of the syllable ou-, meaning "no", and topos, meaning place. But the homophonic prefix eu-, meaning "good," also resonates in the word, with the implication that the perfectly "good place" is really "no place."

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