big brother

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big brother

1. One's older brother. My big brother said he would help us move the couch. Andrew is Julie's big brother.
2. A shorthand reference to oppressive rule that was popularized by George Orwell's dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. In this usage, the phrase is usually capitalized. You have to be careful what you write in an email these days. Big Brother is watching you, after all.
See also: big, brother

big brother

1. n. a personification of the totalitarian state. (From George Orwell’s 1984.) Big brother has changed the tax laws again.
2. n. someone who personifies the totalitarian state: the police, parents, teachers. Big brother says the paper is due tomorrow, or else.
See also: big, brother