dys·​to·​pia | \ (ˌ)dis-ˈtō-pē-ə How to pronounce dystopia (audio) \

Definition of dystopia

1 : 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
2 : 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

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Examples of dystopia in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Describing Love Island like a modern dating reality TV dystopia isn’t a full or fair picture, though. James Hibberd, EW.com, "CBS braces for risqué Love Island as producer breaks silence on U.S. version," 18 June 2019 The episode knows that in the very near future, all sorts of factors will lead us into dystopia. Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, "Black Mirror’s Miley Cyrus episode rebels against positivity culture," 5 June 2019 What if, instead of a dystopia, the Matrix was an Elysium? Josh Wilbur, WIRED, "You Could Live Forever With This Sci-Fi Time Hack," 4 June 2019 There was some good news this week for those of us who worry that the human race is descending into a technological dystopia in which our every move is tracked, cataloged and eventually used against us by vast, malevolent forces. Gerard Baker, WSJ, "Technology Isn’t a Force for Liberation After All," 12 Apr. 2019 As one of the architects of the misogynist dystopia of Gilead, Serena is the epitome of complicit privilege. Emma Dibdin, Harper's BAZAAR, "Yvonne Strahovski Talks Serena Joy's "Ultimate Sacrifice" in The Handmaid's Tale Finale," 17 July 2018 Though it was originally released 91 years ago, Lang's early stab at a silver screen dystopia still feels amazingly fresh. Jennifer M. Wood, WIRED, "The 7 Best Sci-Fi Movies You Can Stream Right Now, From Rogue One to The Matrix," 22 May 2018 For instance, her original explanation posits that The Handmaid’s Tale is an example of hopepunk, because even though the world of that story is a grim dystopia, the main character never stops fighting against the system. Aja Romano, Vox, "In the era of Trump and apocalyptic change, Hopepunk is a storytelling template for #resistance — and hanging onto your humanity at all costs.," 27 Dec. 2018 By 2045, when the film opens, humans have rendered the planet virtually uninhabitable, a dystopia in which American cities are endless slums and the have-nots, like its hero, Wade Watts, are relegated to rickety trailer-park towers. Scott Tobias, chicagotribune.com, "'Westworld' and 'Ready Player One' show how our relationship to artificial intelligence has changed," 27 Apr. 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 How to pronounce dystopia (audio) \

Medical Definition of dystopia

: malposition of an anatomical part

Other Words from dystopia

dystopic \ -​ˈtō-​pik How to pronounce dystopic (audio) , -​ˈtäp-​ik How to pronounce dystopic (audio) \ adjective

More from Merriam-Webster on dystopia

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with dystopia

Nglish: Translation of dystopia for Spanish Speakers

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