Did You Know?
Dystopia was created from Utopia, the name of an ideal country imagined by Sir Thomas More in 1516. For More, the suffix -topia meant "place", and u- (from the Greek root ou) meant "no", but also perhaps "good". In other words, More's Utopia was too good to be true. It's probably no accident that dystopia was first used around 1950, soon after George Orwell published his famous novel Nineteen Eighty-Four and 16 years after Aldous Huxley published Brave New World. These two are still the most famous of the 20th century's many depressingly dystopian novels. And what about all those bleak futuristic films: *Blade Runner, Brazil, The Matrix, *and the rest? What does it mean when no one will paint a picture of a happy future?
Origin and Etymology of dystopia
New Latin, from dys- + -topia (as in utopia)
First Known Use: circa 1950
DYSTOPIA Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of dystopia for English Language Learners
: an imaginary place where people are unhappy and usually afraid because they are not treated fairly
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