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vision +‎ -ary



visionary (comparative more visionary, superlative most visionary)

  1. having vision or foresight
    • 1717, Alexander Pope, “Eloisa to Abelard”, in The Works of Alexander Pope, page 163:
      No more theſe ſeenes my meditation aid, / Or lull to reſt the viſionary mind.
  2. imaginary or illusory
    • 1834, L[etitia] E[lizabeth] L[andon], chapter XXVII, in Francesca Carrara. [], volume II, London: Richard Bentley, [], (successor to Henry Colburn), →OCLC, page 291:
      To many, the visionary hope which is born of the imagination may seem the very mockery of nothing. We cannot imagine what we have never experienced.
    • 1836, Charles Dickens, The Pickwick Papers:
      Here Mr. Jackson smiled once more upon the company; and, applying his left thumb to the tip of his nose, worked a visionary coffee-mill with his right hand, thereby performing a very graceful piece of pantomime (then much in vogue, but now, unhappily, almost obsolete) which was familiarly denominated taking a grinder.
  3. prophetic or revelatory
    • 1727, James Thomson, “Summer”, in The Works of James Thomson, page 69:
      Here frequent, at the viſionary hour, / When muſing midnight reigns or ſilent noon, / Angelic harps are in full concert heard, / And voiced chaunting from the wood-crown’d hill, / The deepening dale, or inmoſt ſilvan glade []
  4. idealistic or utopian
    a visionary scheme or project
    • c. 1712, Jonathan Swift, “A Proposal for Correcting, Improving and Ascertaining the English Tongue”, in The Works of J.S., volume I, Dublin: George Faulkner, published 1735, page 187:
      I confeſs, the Merit of this Candour and Condeſcenſion is very much leſſened ; becauſe your Lordſhip hardly leaves us Room to offer our good Wiſhes ; removing all our Difficulties, and ſupplying our Wants, faſter than the moſt viſionary Projector can adjuſt his Schemes.



visionary (plural visionaries)

  1. Someone who has visions; a seer.
  2. An impractical dreamer.
  3. Someone who has positive ideas about the future.
    • 2023 March 8, Howard Johnston, “Was Marples the real railway wrecker?”, in RAIL, number 978, page 51:
      Robertson was finally asked to step down at the end of 1961. His successor would be Dr Beeching, who was seen as both visionary and axeman.