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How did the word "Utopia" (coined by Sir Thomas More) come to mean an ideal place when the Greek etymology specifically means "Not a place."

Relatedly, while this might be the prime use of the word "irony" or "ironic", does anyone have a suggestion for a word matching the general public's ideal definition of "Irony?"

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Surely Utopia came to mean an ideal place because More defined it like that when he coined the word. It's also a homophone for eutopia (good place). In calling his place "Utopia" More not only made it entirely fictional ("No place") but also recognised that no place meets that ideal. That may well be ironic. I don't understand what you want in your secondary question. – Andrew Leach Apr 21 '13 at 12:04
No place is ideal. Even the Garden of Eden had a serpent. So Utopia cannot exist: it's strictly a realm of the imagination, from Plato to the present generation of politically correct preachers. And as Andrew Leach says, that's how More defined it. – user21497 Apr 21 '13 at 12:10
Ouch. Excuse my incorrect correction, it is indeed "More" not "Moore." – user1678063 Apr 21 '13 at 12:15
Related – Robusto Apr 21 '13 at 14:02
There are two interesting questions here, that would be better asked as two separate questions, I think. – Bradd Szonye Apr 21 '13 at 20:16
up vote 0 down vote accepted

On the second question. Often one hears the word irony when two events are related. Irony, in this context, means a poignant juxtaposition. If that quality is missing, the related events are mere coincidence. Hope that helps.

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Agreed. However, in clarifying my question; have you, or has anyone found a word that fits the "Popular Culture" definition of Irony, which is more aptly - as you mentioned - correlated to coincidence. To put it simply, what is the correct word for the definition of "Irony?" – Dutch Apr 23 '13 at 12:38
Irony actually has nothing to do with either of these things. Irony is what most people think is called sarcasm - to speak such that it is understood from tone or usage that you mean something quite different than what you nominatively say. To be ironic is to speak in the fashion of the Eiron, a character in Greek theater, who would serve a purpose kind of similar to the "inner monologue" you hear for character thoughts in some sitcoms - he would say the things that the characters can't say. One example: a new prince tells of his conquests afar, and the Eiron says "and then I woke up." – John Haugeland Jun 1 '14 at 3:11

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