One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A person whose name or existence is denied or ignored, especially because of a political misdemeanour.
outcast, social outcast, pariah, untouchable, undesirable, exile, reject, non-person, persona non grataView synonyms
- ‘To all effects and purposes, he had disappeared, become an unperson to which anyone could do anything - and so they did.’
- ‘But I really think this whole distinction is irrelevant to the cloning debate, and it's used to convince us to remove our protection from those humans we deem unpersons.’
- ‘On the other hand, the handling of Kerry's personal life was pretty awkward - we went from the birth of his daughters to his marriage to Theresa Heinz, without a mention of Kerry's first wife. She, apparently, has become an unperson.’
- ‘All Morris has done is to give these unpersons an opportunity to demonstrate the fact that they'll do anything to get a chauffeured car, a Styrofoam beaker of tea and five minutes in the green room goofing out with others of their ilk.’
- ‘Yet within an amazingly brief period the new partner was introduced on to the scene and to certain people I automatically became yesterday's news, an Orwellian unperson.’
- ‘Inconvenient people become ‘unpersons’ in Orwell's world; inconvenient history becomes ‘unideas’ in ours.’
- ‘Indeed, previous ‘unpersons’ or ‘unplayers’ (in the Orwellian sense) now move to center stage.’
1949: coined by George Orwell in the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four.
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