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[dis-toh-pee-uh] /dɪsˈtoʊ pi ə/
a society characterized by human misery, as squalor, oppression, disease, and overcrowding.
Compare Utopia.
Origin of dystopia
1865-70; dys- + (U)topia
Related forms
dystopian, adjective
dystopianism, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for dystopia
  • Vote on dystopias submitted by other readers.
  • It'd probably require shirking the status quo of our materialistic dystopia.
  • That is almost a dystopia.
  • Ominous words and violent imagery fuel this dystopia, which is equal parts science fiction and life-as-we-know-it.
  • Workplace dystopia is something we can all relate to.
  • Your description of the elder-dystopia is unfortunately closer to current conditions than one would hope.
  • Perhaps like one of sci-fi cinema's most debilitating dystopias.
  • To this dystopia of video and reggae alongside timeless barbarism, Johnson is the perfect witness.
  • But utopia usually contains the seeds of its obverse, the dreaded dystopia.
  • Young Liam is the only walker on the streets of an urban dystopia where residents — no surprise — prefer to remain indoors.
British Dictionary definitions for dystopia


an imaginary place where everything is as bad as it can be
Derived Forms
dystopian, adjective, noun
Word Origin
C19 (coined by John Stuart Mill): from dys- + Utopia
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for dystopia

"imaginary bad place," 1868, apparently coined by J.S. Mill ("Hansard Commons"), from Greek dys- "bad, abnormal, difficult" (see dys-) + utopia. Related: Dystopian.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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dystopia in Medicine

dystopia dys·to·pi·a (dĭs-tō'pē-ə)
An abnormal position, as of an organ or a body part. Also called malposition.

dys·top'ic (-tŏp'ĭk) adj.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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