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A government or government policy that excessively controls, monitors, or interferes with people's private actions or behaviors that are deemed unhealthy or unsafe. Can be hyphenated if used as a modifier before a noun. The proposal to place steep taxes on foods and drinks high in added sugar is yet another instance of the nanny state trying to undermine personal choice and responsibility. How long before nanny-state policies like this one slide down the slippery slope into all-out control over our freedom of speech or religion?
the ˈnanny state(British English) a disapproving way of talking about the fact that government seems to get too involved in people’s lives and to protect them too much, in a way that limits their freedom: We’re living in a nanny state; the government watches over you for everything and nobody takes responsibility for their own actions anymore.
In this phrase, the state or government is being compared to a nanny, a woman whose job is to take care of young children, telling them what to do, how to behave, etc.