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Aug 16, 2018
This week’s theme
Words from 1984 that are now a part of the language

This week’s words
newspeak
doublethink
Big Brother
unperson
oldspeak

unperson
Nikolai Yezhov (right), a Soviet secret police official, as a person
unperson
Nikolai Yezhov, executed and regarded as an unperson
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

unperson

PRONUNCIATION:
(UHN-puhr-suhn)

MEANING:
noun: A person regarded as nonexistent.

ETYMOLOGY:
Coined as a noun in George Orwell’s 1949 novel 1984. Earliest documented use: 1646, as a verb meaning to depersonalize or to deprive of personhood. A synonym is nonperson.

USAGE:
“It is hard now to grasp the disgrace of illegitimacy. Pepita’s children were unpersons. No respectable child could play with them. When visitors came, they were bundled away.”
The Story of the Sackvilles; Knole and Its History; The Economist (London, UK); Apr 26, 2014.

See more usage examples of unperson in Vocabulary.com’s dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
If some persons died, and others did not die, death would indeed be a terrible affliction. -Jean de La Bruyere, essayist and moralist (16 Aug 1645-1696)

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