Definition of unperson in English:



  • A person whose name or existence is denied or ignored, especially because of a political misdemeanour.

    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Indeed, previous ‘unpersons’ or ‘unplayers’ (in the Orwellian sense) now move to center stage.’
    • ‘To all effects and purposes, he had disappeared, become an unperson to which anyone could do anything - and so they did.’
    • ‘Inconvenient people become ‘unpersons’ in Orwell's world; inconvenient history becomes ‘unideas’ in ours.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    outcast, social outcast, pariah, untouchable, undesirable, exile, reject, non-person, persona non grata
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1949: coined by George Orwell in the novel Nineteen Eighty-Four.