- an elder brother.
- (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.
- (usually initial capital letters) the head of a totalitarian regime that keeps its citizens under close surveillance.
- (usually initial capital letters) the aggregate of officials and policy makers of a powerful and pervasive state.
- Citizens Band Radio Slang. a police officer or police car.
Origin of big brother
1860–65; 1949 for defs 3, 4, the epithet of a dictator in G. Orwell's novel 1984
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
Examples from the Web for big brother
"And he's got a bully girl, too, now that she's got down to brass tacks," said Alec in big-brother style.The Fifth Wheel
Olive Higgins Prouty
- a person, organization, etc, that exercises total dictatorial control
- 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)
Word Origin and History for 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