Meaning of dystopia in English:


Pronunciation /dɪsˈtəʊpɪə/

See synonyms for dystopia on


  • An imagined state or society in which there is great suffering or injustice, typically one that is totalitarian or post-apocalyptic.

    Compare with utopia

    ‘environmental disaster is the backdrop to this modern dystopia’
    • ‘It's extremely difficult to imagine a realistic dystopia because we're so tempted to create a caricature.’
    • ‘Orwell's genius was to take the theme of a totalitarian dystopia to the max.’
    • ‘It is hardly surprising that a century of utopian dreams and coercive social engineering to achieve them should have been a century rich in imaginative dystopias.’
    • ‘The two works together conjuring the horror of a dystopia which is never as far away as you might imagine.’
    • ‘It's set in a future dystopia, where a lone individual fights against a totalitarian regime.’
    • ‘But in his 1932 novel Brave New World, he created one of the truly memorable 20th-century dystopias, which is also one of the most frighteningly pessimistic.’
    • ‘Now it appears we face the prospect of two contradictory dystopias at once - open markets, closed minds - because state surveillance is back again with a vengeance.’
    • ‘A combination of greed, corruption and bad planning has transformed many cities into polluted dystopias, friendly neither to the bike nor the human being.’
    • ‘Yet in the dystopias of his late novels, the evil of oligarchic collectivism crowds out the petty, everyday struggle for socialist policies in this world.’
    • ‘‘The future,’ as a social construct, is commonly understood in terms of utopias and dystopias.’
    • ‘Will all tomorrow's cinematic dystopias be virtual?’
    • ‘Unlike many science fiction dystopias, this one seems uncomfortably realistic.’
    • ‘These dystopias of capitalism are squeezing out communities' hope as they sedate them with the best salaries around.’
    • ‘The swarm is a recurring form of force in our dystopias and fears of destruction.’
    • ‘The story is a delirious, chaotic, often impenetrable allegory of tribalism in an industrial dystopia.’
    • ‘By using existing modernist architecture for locations, and having their characters speak a mutated form of English, they persuasively create a high-tech dystopia.’
    • ‘Virilio writes about the dystopia that has already happened.’
    • ‘The filmmaker just can't help himself - leave it to him to find a silver lining in the dystopia he so carefully sets up.’
    • ‘My favourite genre is the dystopia, and this novel is filled with references to a horrible future, filled with fascists and war.’
    • ‘In Metropolis, Fritz Lang had the office as an urban dystopia with workers shuffling about in smocks with bowed heads, sedated by repetition.’


Late 18th century from dys-‘bad’ + utopia.