Consider the passage:

The IT industry has come a long way from the time it started. In not even a hundred years, we have seen dreams — like robots — come true. But we have also seen the [unforeseen bad dream?] — viruses.

I want a good word to place in the brackets — like a word which means an "unforeseen bad dream" — or some other word which better fits the context.

  • Do you mean an unpredicted bad dream? Or a disturbing dream?
    – Third News
    May 14, 2014 at 14:07
  • @ThirdNews unpredicted bad dream - yes that's what I mean. May 14, 2014 at 14:12
  • 2
    Please clarify how a dream can be unseen, especially if we have expressly seen it.
    – RegDwigнt
    May 14, 2014 at 14:12
  • @RegDwigнt When the IT industry started, nobody had predicted that there would be viruses (a bad dream) - had anyone ? May 14, 2014 at 14:14
  • 1
    Then you mean unforeseen. That is a completely different word. I have edited the question accordingly. Likewise, please do not use hyphens instead of dashes. They do not mean the same thing.
    – RegDwigнt
    May 14, 2014 at 14:15

9 Answers 9


I'd say:

But we have also seen the unexpected evils , like viruses.

  • I'd remove the
    – Tim S.
    May 14, 2014 at 15:16
  • 3
    How about unsuspected instead: "not known or thought to exist or be present; not imagined possible." The word unexpected does not resonate with the moral aspect, as it is more related to likelihood and probability, making it neutral. May 14, 2014 at 19:04

You can use nightmare to fill the blank. But since the word unseen is associated,

An unaccounted nightmare

  • Well, that would be sort of "too heavy" word - I am going to use this passage in my project, so, is there sort of a "light word" ? May 14, 2014 at 14:13
  • IMO Nightmare is a very common word , but if you feel its heavy then Josh's "unexpected evils" is pretty accurate as well!
    – Invoker
    May 14, 2014 at 14:16
  • unaccounted is not a good synonym for unforeseen. The first means "Something, after it happened, can not be explained" while the second is for "Not felt or realized beforehand". May 14, 2014 at 19:14

What about nightmares? Not exactly “unseen”, but I am not really sure what you mean with that.

The contrast between dreams (usually implied good) and nightmares (always bad dreams) is commonly used, and would certainly fit in this context.

  • Yeah , when I read the question second time , I came to that conclusion and made necessary changes. I thought the OP just needed a synonym for bad dream.. And dream is not usually implied as 'good' it is nuetral.A good dream would be a 'fantasy'
    – Invoker
    May 14, 2014 at 14:06
  • Dream on its own is neutral, true. But when juxtaposing it to a nightmare, the good is implied quite clearly :)
    – oerkelens
    May 14, 2014 at 14:43

How about phantasm for a more interesting word?

  • 1
    I like the word phantasm but its strongest connotation is "illusion," which is not appropriate to the request. May 14, 2014 at 18:22

How about perverse consequences?


"But we have also seen the emergence of an unanticipated spectre -- the virus problem."


How about darkness. Seems like it might fit if nightmare is too heavy. It may be a slightly odd relation to dream, but I think it could work.


The IT industry has come a long way from the time it started. In not even a hundred years, we have seen dreams — like robots — come true. But we have also seen unexpected foes -- like viruses -- crop up.


how about 'dystopian nightmare'

Dystopian: describes an imaginary society that is as dehumanizing and as unpleasant as possible. 

source: dystopian

while it might be that dystopian does not carry the 'unforseen' part of the request, it describes the negative effects of the viruses pretty well. Another possibility could be unexpected dystopian nightmare.

  • This might be an applicable answer, but it needs more fleshing out and support/justification.
    – Dan Bron
    Jul 1, 2015 at 17:54

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