Big Brother

Definition from Wiktionary, the free dictionary
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See also: big brother


Alternative forms[edit]


After the nominal leader of Oceania in George Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four.

Proper noun[edit]

Big Brother

  1. Unwarranted, invasive, and discreet surveillance, especially of a people by its government
    • 2002, Lorrie Faith Cranor, Web privacy with P3P, page 12
      Some people are worried about marketing calls at dinnertime or junk mail or spam, while others are more concerned about Big Brother.
    • 2008, Bertrand du Castel, Timothy M. Jurgensen Computer Theology, page 314
      When one mentions the concepts of identity and governance in the same breath, a virtually autonomic response from many is the concern that a governmental big brother will soon be looking over their shoulders.
  2. Any omnipresent figurehead representing oppressive control
    • 1999, Rebecca A. Grant, Colin John Bennett, Visions of privacy: policy choices for the digital age, page 244
      In the late 1960s and early 1970s, at the height of public concern over the emergence of a Big Brother society, privacy activism shared features in common with some of the hard-line environmental campaigns of the 1990s.
    • 2003, Rodney Carlisle, Rodney P. Carlisle, Complete idiot's guide to spies and espionage, page 195
      When the agencies of the federal government spied on the political activities of US citizens, they moved into the grey area between concern with national security and a Big Brother system that violated constitutional protections.

Derived terms[edit]


The translations below need to be checked and inserted above into the appropriate translation tables, removing any numbers. Numbers do not necessarily match those in definitions. See instructions at Wiktionary:Entry layout#Translations.

Further reading[edit]