Anything kafkaesque is strange and nightmarish. If you said your long, frustrating, and bizarre experience at the Department of Motor Vehicles was kafkaesque, you wouldn't be the first person to describe it that way.

People often use this adjective for interactions that are unnecessarily bureaucratic or complicated. But some kafkaesque situations involve a feeling of oppression or danger, like a kafkaesque nightmare that leaves you feeling uneasy even after you wake up. The word derives from the name Franz Kafka, whose novels dealt with disorienting and unnerving situations.

Definitions of kafkaesque
  1. adjective
    characterized by surreal distortion and a sense of impending danger
    “the kafkaesque terror of the endless interrogations”
    not realistic
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