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From Orwell +‎ -ian.


  • (General American) IPA(key): /ɔɹˈwɛli.ən/
  • (UK) IPA(key): /ɔːˈwɛli.ən/
  • (file)


Orwellian (comparative more Orwellian, superlative most Orwellian)

  1. Resembling the totalitarian political methods decried in the works of writer George Orwell, particularly in the dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four; characterized by use of misleading terminology, propaganda, censorship, surveillance and repression. [1950]
    • 1950, Peter Viereck, Public Affairs volume 13, p. 22, published by the Institute of Public Affairs, Dalhousie University (later republished in 1953 in Shame and Glory of the Intellectuals: Babbitt Jr. Vs. the Rediscovery of Values by the Beacon Press p. 204)
      “But they soon find out that an enforced equality, without free individualism to temper it, becomes an Orwellian nightmare-version of the workers' paradise, in which ‘all are equal, but some are more equal than others.’”
    • 1954, Sisley Huddleston, Popular Diplomacy and War:
      “The Orwellian slogan that ‘War is Peace’ was, consciously or unconsciously, from the beginning adopted by both conflicting groups within the U.N.”
    • 2013 March 12, Andrew Jacobs, Patrick Zuo, Shi Da, “Non-Communist Parties Lend China an Air of Pluralism, Without the Mess”, in The New York Times[1], →ISSN, →OCLC, archived from the original on 2013-03-15, Asia Pacific‎[2]:
      Largely invisible much of the year, China’s non-Communist parties are thrust to the fore each March for a display of what the official news media calls China’s system of “multiparty cooperation and political consultation.”
      The news conference, held in a gilded meeting room in the Great Hall of the People, is an Orwellian affair, with party leaders referring to the wonders of “democratic centralization,” heaping praise on the Communist Party and then answering fawning questions from the state media.
    • 2014 September 25, Anthony Faiola, “An Orwellian nightmare for pro-Ukrainians in rebel-held east”, in The Washington Post[3], Nash Holdings, LLC, retrieved 2014-09-25:
      In this metropolis that had a prewar population of almost a million, but where the city center now feels like an Orwellian ghost town of propaganda posters and armed patrols, perhaps no one feels more alone than those who still harbor pro-Ukrainian sentiments.
    • 2015 March 13, Glenn Greenwald, “The Orwellian Re-Branding of ‘Mass Surveillance’ as Merely ‘Bulk Collection’”, in First Look[4], The Intercept, retrieved 2015-03-14:
      Just as the Bush administration and the U.S. media re-labelled ‘torture’ with the Orwellian euphemism ‘enhanced interrogation techniques’ to make it more palatable, the governments and media of the Five Eyes surveillance alliance are now attempting to re-brand ‘mass surveillance’ as ‘bulk collection’ in order to make it less menacing (and less illegal)... just as it was stunning to watch media outlets refuse to use the term ‘torture’ because the U.S. Government demanded that it be called something else – this Orwellian switch in surveillance language is now predictably (and mindlessly) being adopted by those nations’ most state-loyal media outlets.
    • 2022 March 8, Neil MacFarquhar, “Two Days of Russian News Coverage: An Alternate Reality of War”, in The New York Times[5], →ISSN:
      To spend several days watching news broadcasts on the main state channels, as well as surveying state-controlled newspapers, is to witness the extent of the Kremlin’s efforts to sanitize its war with the Orwellian term “special military operation” — and to make all news coverage align with that message.



See also[edit]