big brother

big brother

noun
1.
an elder brother.
2.
(sometimes initial capital letters) a man who individually or as a member of an organized group undertakes to sponsor or assist a boy in need of help or guidance.
3.
(usually initial capital letters) the head of a totalitarian regime that keeps its citizens under close surveillance.
4.
(usually initial capital letters) the aggregate of officials and policy makers of a powerful and pervasive state.
5.
Citizens Band Radio Slang. a police officer or police car.

Origin:
1860–65; 1949 for defs 3 and 4, the epithet of a dictator in G. Orwell's novel 1984

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
Big Brother
 
n
1.  a person, organization, etc, that exercises total dictatorial control
2.  a television gameshow format in which a small number of people living in accommodation sealed off from the outside world are constantly monitored by TV cameras. Viewers vote each week to expel a person from the group until there is only one person left, who wins a cash prize
 
[C20: after a character in George Orwell's novel 1984 (1949)]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

Big Brother
"ubiquitous and repressive but apparently benevolent authority" first recorded 1949, from George Orwell's novel "Nineteen Eighty-Four."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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