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nonperson

[ non-pur-suhn ]
/ nɒnˈpɜr sən /
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noun

someone whose existence or presence is not recognized.
someone whose existence is denied or ignored by a government, political party, or the like, often as a punishment for disloyalty or dissent and sometimes resulting in the loss of personal liberty; unperson.

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“Was” is used for the indicative past tense of “to be,” and “were” is only used for the subjunctive past tense.

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Origin of nonperson

First recorded in 1905–10; non- + person
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

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British Dictionary definitions for nonperson

non-person

noun

a person regarded as nonexistent or unimportant; a nonentity
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

Cultural definitions for nonperson

nonperson

A former political leader whom a government wants the people to ignore, because the former leader's views or actions are considered unacceptable by the current government. This unusual practice is most commonly used in totalitarian states (see totalitarianism), where past leaders often disappear from the official histories of one regime and reappear in the histories of another. The creation of nonpersons was particularly striking in the former Soviet Union, where leaders such as Trotsky and Khrushchev became nonpersons even while they were alive. (See rehabilitation.)

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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