dys·​to·​pia (ˌ)dis-ˈtō-pē-ə How to pronounce dystopia (audio)
: an imagined world or society in which people lead wretched, dehumanized, fearful lives
There's almost a flavor of science fiction to the scenes Chilson describes, as though he were giving us a glimpse into a 21st-century dystopia of mad egoism and hurtling hulks of metal.Adam Goodheart
Over the course of the movie, the late-60's ideal of togetherness turns into a dystopia of violence, revulsion and finally death.John Leland
: anti-utopia sense 2
writing a dystopia
… leaping across the century to the 1990's to attempt a dystopia about the disintegration of Australian democracy into startling, irreversible despotism.Pearl K. Bell

Examples of dystopia in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Part sci-fi, part fantasy, part mystery, Sweet Tooth offers viewers a post-apocalyptic dystopia unlike any other. Matt Kamen, WIRED, 22 June 2024 Buy Now 04 of 14 Dystopian: 'The Handmaid’s Tale' by Margaret Atwood Speculative near-future dystopias usually get shelved in science fiction, but there are definitely a few books in the intersection of the Venn diagram where speculative dystopia meets dark fantasy meets horror. Marianne Gordon, Peoplemag, 19 June 2024 Still, the fact this detail was ever a part of Furiosa’s backstory at all leaves questions about how much Miller absorbed the feminism of the character, let alone intended her to be a reclamation of his nihilistic dystopia rather than a badass representative of it. Aja Romano, Vox, 24 May 2024 But even putting aside the most extreme fears of an AI dystopia, previous incidents have provided plenty of reasons to worry about unintended large-scale calamities in the near term. Bill Drexel, Foreign Affairs, 30 May 2023 See all Example Sentences for dystopia 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'dystopia.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


dys- + -topia (in utopia)

First Known Use

1919, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of dystopia was in 1919

Dictionary Entries Near dystopia




Cite this Entry

“Dystopia.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dystopia. Accessed 23 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


: an imaginary place where people are unhappy and usually afraid because they are not treated fairly
also : a work of literature about such a place

Medical Definition


dys·​to·​pia dis-ˈtō-pē-ə How to pronounce dystopia (audio)
: malposition of an anatomical part
dystopic adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on dystopia

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