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Affixes: the building blocks of English
Affixes: the building blocks of English

-topia Also -topic and -topian.

A place with specified characteristics.

[Greek topos, place.]

The key term here is utopia (Greek ou, not), an imagined place or state of things in which everything is perfect; dystopia (Greek dus-, bad) was later invented as its opposite.

In recent decades, more words in this ending have appeared, such as ecotopia, a community whose environment is organized on ecological and environmentally sensitive principles; subtopia (from suburb), a British term for an unsightly, sprawling suburban development; and technotopia (from technology), a vision of a utopia brought about by science and technology.

Early examples were blends of delimiting words with utopia, but several short-lived inventions in recent years (digitopia, pornotopia) suggest a combining form is appearing. The ending appears in a few other words, such as ectopia (Greek ektos, outside), the presence of organs in an abnormal place or position, in which the sense is of something being in a place, rather than a place itself.

The last term is more commonly encountered as the adjective ectopic; however, most such words form their related adjectives using -topian (utopian, dystopian).

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