I daresay we all know what I mean when I say the word Utopia, right. It’s a perfect society. We all know it’s pretty much mythical, much like the one Socrates outlines in “The Republic.” And we probably also know the word was coined by Thomas Moore when he wrote a book with that title.
But did you know that he chose that title and name for his society based on the Greek word for “nowhere”? I didn’t! That makes it really cool though, doesn’t it? That even in its name, we recognize that it does not–and cannot–exist. He wrote, and hence coined the term for, Utopia in 1516, and it’s been a part of the English language to describe an ideal society since 1551.
What’s really interesting though is that many people didn’t understand the rather complicated Greek idiom that led to this word (I won’t get into it here) and thought that instead of meaning “nowhere” or “no place,” it was based on the Greek eu, meaning “good,” and that the word meant “good place.” Incorrect…but compelling enough that it’s why people created the word dystopian to be its supposed opposite!
Have you ever read Utopia? I haven’t yet, but my husband’s reading it now…
Let us know what he thinks. This is a very interesting post. So many words come from the Greek, also Latin. We lived on the island of Cyprus for 28 months and were surrounded by the Greek language, culture, and ancient castles and statues.