Utopia is a Greek-origin neologism first used in the English language by Sir Thomas More in 1516 in a book by the same name. The spelling of the word omits a single Greek letter that changes the meaning of the word significantly. In the book, More plays with the idea that in Greek, ou-topos, means “no place” but eu-topos (same pronunciation) means “good” or “best place.” By choosing not to include either the e or the o, More set the stage for a clever irony and also made a statement about the paradoxical nature of the idea of a perfect society, which is what the word utopia usually means today. Sir Thomas More likely created the word in allusion to Plato’s Republic, which was written ...

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