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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.
    • 1829, Edgar Allan Poe, “Tamerlane”, in Al Aaraaf, Tamerlane and Minor Poems:
      I wrapp’d myself in grandeur then,
      And donn’d a visionary crown—
      Yet it was not that Fantasy
      Had thrown her mantle over me—
      But that, among the rabble—men,
      Lion ambition is chain’d down— […]
    • 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.
    • 1897, Charles Morris, A History of the United States of America: Its People, and Its Institutions, page 18:
      For seven years [Christopher Columbus] begged persistently for aid, but in vain. He was looked upon as a visionary, and the very boys in the street mocked him as a lunatic. At length he was permitted to lay his plans before a committee of learned men, but only to have them ridiculed, the council dismissing him as a foolish enthusiast.
    • 1918 January 3, Bertrand Russell, “The German Peace Offer”, in The Tribunal; republished as Autobiography, 1998, →ISBN, pages 308–9:
      In a military sense Russia is defenceless, and we all supposed it a proof that they were mere visionaries when they started negotiations by insisting upon not surrendering any Russian territory to the Germans.
    • 1968, Engineering News-Record[1], volume 181, page 112:
      Along with the good planners there are lots of wild-eyed visionaries who don’t relate ideas to real-life practicalities.
    • 1991, Noble E. Cunningham, Jr., “Jefferson, Thomas”, in Eric Foner, John A. Garraty, editors, The Reader’s Companion to American History, →ISBN, page 592:
      Jefferson’s intellectual prowess led some political opponents to dismiss him as a visionary, but he was remarkably successful in politics.
  3. Someone who has creative and 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.



  • visionary”, in OneLook Dictionary Search.