Definition: The word unperson is a noun used in the English language to describe the act of casting a person out of society. To unperson someone means to strip them of their human rights, humanity, and their legal identity. When someone is unpersoned, they remove their existence and any identifiable information about them from public records.
Unperson essentially means to erase the existence of a person. In the novel “1984,” to be unpersoned was the ultimate punishment for dystopian crimes like free-thinking or thoughtcrime. Unpersoning is akin to unfriending or blocking someone on social media but to a much higher degree—they seem to no longer exist.
Etymology: Unperson was first recorded in George Orwell’s dystopian novel titled “1984.” The novel was written in 1949. Unpersoning was applied to people who refused to accept the rules and those charged with political crimes.
In a Sentence
The whistleblower felt alienated when he realized he was unpersoned by his employer.
He was terrified to become an unperson with no record of his existence or identity.
The closest thing to becoming an unperson in our society is going to prison for life.