Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Absurdly impractical or visionary, especially to the neglect of more useful activity.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. fanciful; preposterous; absurd in science or philosophy

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Of or pertaining to Laputa, an imaginary flying island described in Gulliver's Travels as the home of chimerical philosophers.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Pertaining to Laputa, an imaginary flying island described in Swift's “Gulliver's Travels,” whose inhabitants were engaged in all sorts of ridiculous projects; hence, chimerical; absurd; ridiculous; impossible.
  • n. An inhabitant of Laputa; a visionary.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. not practical or realizable; speculative
  • adj. relating to or characteristic of the imaginary country of Laputa or its people

Etymologies

After the flying island of Laputa in Gulliver's Travels by Jonathan Swift, where absurd projects are pursued and useful pursuits neglected.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Laputa +‎ -an, after Laputa, an imaginary flying island described in Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels (1726). (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • They utilize instead the services of a "Flapper" to hit them in the face with a bladder full of dried peas when another Laputan wishes to communicate something.

    Erica Jong: Lost in Laputa

  • On the marshes of Iraq, three reports from Laputan Logic.

    Prunings XIX

  • Gulliver also wonders why Laputan coats fit so badly until he visits a tailor and finds himself being fitted by quadrant and compass.

    contra kindle

  • The new kindle from Amazon, like its several failed predecessors are Laputan biofuel technology and tailoring.

    contra kindle

  • Wrapped up, like a Laputan, in intense thought, and possibly sometimes in no thought at all (which, I believe, is very often the case with absent people), he does not know his most intimate acquaintance by sight, or answers them as if he were at cross purposes.

    Letters to his son on The Art of Becoming a Man of the World and a Gentleman

  • Laputan tailors, which, though projected from the most refined geometrical data and the most profound calculations, he found to be the worst fit he ever put on his back.

    The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 11, No. 67, May, 1863

  • Laputan, who passed his days in extracting sunbeams out of cucumbers, could have reached such a height of delirium as to rave about the time when a man should paint his miniature by looking at a blank tablet, and

    The Atlantic Monthly, Volume 03, No. 20, June, 1859

  • In Part III he names “Imagination, Fancy, and Invention” as desirable faculties in which the Laputan mathematicians (in spite of their love of music) were wholly lacking.

    Politics vs. Literature: An Examination of Gulliver’s Travels

  • “Imagination, Fancy, and Invention” as desirable faculties in which the Laputan mathematicians (in spite of their love of music) were wholly lacking.

    Collected Essays

  • Kepler interpreted Galileo's anagram of the "triple" Saturn in this sense; they were perceived by Micromégas on his long voyage through space; and the Laputan astronomers had even arrived at a knowledge, curiously accurate under the circumstances, of their distances and periods.

    A Popular History of Astronomy During the Nineteenth Century Fourth Edition

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