dys·to·pia | \ (ˌ)dis-ˈtō-pē-ə \

Definition of dystopia 

1 : an imaginary place where people lead dehumanized and often fearful lives

2 literature : anti-utopia sense 2 writing a dystopia

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Other words from dystopia

dystopian \-pē-ən \ adjective

Examples of dystopia in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Perhaps the most monumental of those lost women was Lexa from the CW's sci-fi dystopia show The 100. refinery29.com, "Courtney's 13 Reasons Why Ending Is A Huge Moment For Queer Women On TV," 22 May 2018 That’s a common tack for science fiction — particularly satires and dystopia stories, which poke fun at America’s less-desirable elements, and challenge people to do better. Tasha Robinson, The Verge, "10 subversive, dark American futures to stream on July 4th," 4 July 2018 The next game from the makers of The Witcher 3—the high water mark for modern role-playing games—is a first-person role-playing game set in a vibrant future dystopia. Joshua Rivera, GQ, "Every Video Game Worth Paying Attention to from E3 2018," 14 June 2018 Elite companies like Amazon and Google may be shamed out of contributing to our dystopia, but the result may simply be a glitchier Big Brother from a second-rate company willing to shoulder the mantel. Maya Kosoff, The Hive, "Amazon Workers to Jeff Bezos: Stop Weaponizing Our Tech," 22 June 2018 Does that sound like an unrecognizably radical dystopia to you? Scott Meslow, GQ, "Fahrenheit 451 Review: An Unsubtle Movie for Our Unsubtle Times," 18 May 2018 Set in 2028 Brooklyn, the show is designed as a comical parody of the Margaret Atwood novel and Hulu original series, depicting future millennials in a phoneless dystopia. Philly.com, "Paul Simon, Harry Styles, FringeA-Thon, Wiggle Wiggle Wiggle! Tour, and other happening in Philadelphia, June 15-22," 14 June 2018 Night City, to be exact, a sprawling dystopia set somewhere in future Northern California. Hayden Dingman, PCWorld, "Cyberpunk 2077: What we learned in the most mind-blowing game demo we've ever seen," 13 June 2018 But there are still some classic literary dystopias that have yet to get a modern film or TV update – where’s my Brave New World? refinery29.com, "Jog Your Brain On What Fahrenheit 451 Is Actually About," 18 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'dystopia.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of dystopia

circa 1950, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for dystopia

New Latin, from dys- + -topia (as in utopia)

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More Definitions for dystopia



English Language Learners Definition of dystopia

: an imaginary place where people are unhappy and usually afraid because they are not treated fairly


dys·to·pia | \ dis-ˈtō-pē-ə \

Medical Definition of dystopia 

: malposition of an anatomical part

Other words from dystopia

dystopic \-ˈtō-pik, -ˈtäp-ik \ adjective

Comments on dystopia

What made you want to look up dystopia? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


occurring twice a year or every two years

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