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Encyclopedia > Orwellian

The adjective Orwellian describes the situation, idea, or societal condition that George Orwell identified as being inimical to the welfare of a free-society. An attitude and a policy of control by propaganda, misinformation, denial of truth, and manipulation of the past, including the "unperson" — a person whose past existence is expunged from the public record and memory, practiced by modern repressive governments. Often, this includes the circumstances depicted in his novels, particularly Nineteen Eighty-Four. Eric Arthur Blair (25 June 1903 [1] [2] – 21 January 1950), better known by the pen name George Orwell, was an English author and journalist. ... This article is about the Orwell novel. ...

Orwell's ideas about personal freedom and state authority developed when he was a British colonial administrator in Burma. He was fascinated by the effect of colonialism on the individual person, requiring acceptance of the idea that the colonialist oppressor exists for the good of the oppressed person and people.



The adjective Orwellian refers to these behaviours of State and The Party, especially when the Party is the State:

  • The political manipulation of language, by obfuscation, e.g. WAR IS PEACE. Using language to obfuscate meaning or to reduce and eliminate ideas and their meanings that are deemed dangerous to its authority.
  • Invasion of personal privacy, either directly physically or indirectly by surveillance.
  • State control of its citizens' daily life, as in a "Big Brother" society.
  • Official encouragement of policies contributing to the socio-economic disintegration of the family.
  • The substitution of traditional religion with the adoration of state leaders and their Party.
  • The encouragement of "doublethink," whereby the population must learn to embrace inconsistent concepts without dissent, e.g. giving up liberty for freedom.
  • The revision of history in the favour of the State's interpretation of it.
  • A dystopian future.

For other uses, see Surveillance (disambiguation). ... Forms of government Part of the Politics series Politics Portal This box:      This article applies to political and organizational ideologies. ... A cult of personality or personality cult arises when a countrys leader uses mass media to create a larger-than-life public image through unquestioning flattery and praise. ... Doublethink is an integral concept in George Orwells dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, and is the act of holding two contradictory beliefs simultaneously, fervently believing both. ... This article is about the philosophical concept and literary form. ...

Big Brother

The most common sense of Orwellian is that of the all-controlling "Big Brother" state, used to negatively describe a situation in which a Big Brother authority figure — in concert with "thought police" — constantly monitors the population to detect betrayal via "improper" thoughts. Orwellian also describes oppressive political ideas and the use of euphemistic political language in public discourse to camouflage morally outrageous ideas and actions. In this latter sense, the term is often used as a means of attacking an opponent in political debate, by branding his or her policies as Orwellian. Big Brother as portrayed in the BBCs 1954 production of Nineteen Eighty-Four. ... This article is about authority as a concept. ... OBrien (seen here played by André Morell in the 1954 television adaption), a secret Thought Police agent The Thought Police (thinkpol in Newspeak) is the secret police in George Orwells dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. ... Euphemism is the substitution of an agreeable or inoffensive expression for one that may offend or suggest something unpleasant to the listener; or in the case of doublespeak, to make it less troublesome for the speaker. ...

Political language

Orwell tried to promote the use of more precise language in political discourse, and he criticised political language popular at the time, such as "running-dog lackey" and "Fascist octopus," which he said prevented thought. It seems unlikely that Orwell would have approved of many of the uses to which his pseudonym is applied. The loose definition of the term and the often poor correlation between the real life situations people describe as Orwellian and his own dystopian fiction leave the use of the adjective at best inexact and frequently politically inaccurate. In his essay Politics and the English Language, Orwell derides the use of cliché and dying metaphors, which "even think your thoughts for you, to a certain extent" and goes on to say "But if thought corrupts language, language can also corrupt thought." For other uses, see Alias. ... Politics and the English Language (1946) is an essay by George Orwell wherein he criticizes ugly and inaccurate contemporary written English, and asserts that it was both a cause and an effect of foolish thinking and dishonest politics. ...

In many of his essays and letters Orwell criticised words with formally precise definitions being used badly and the vague slide in meaning for many of these words. He was a fierce critic of Fascism but he would freely mock the promiscuous use of the word: Fascism is an authoritarian political ideology (generally tied to a mass movement) that considers individual and other societal interests subordinate to the interests of the state. ...

It would seem that, as used, the word 'Fascism' is almost entirely meaningless. In conversation, of course, it is used even more wildly than in print. I have heard it applied to farmers, shopkeepers, Social Credit, corporal punishment, fox-hunting, bull-fighting, the 1922 Committee, the 1941 Committee, Kipling, Gandhi, Chiang Kai-Shek, homosexuality, Priestley's broadcasts, Youth Hostels, astrology, women, dogs and I do not know what else.[1]

For other uses, see Fox hunting (disambiguation). ... In British politics, the 1922 Committee consists of all backbench Conservative Members of Parliament, though when the party is in opposition, frontbench MPs other than the party leader may also attend its meetings. ... The 1941 Committee was a group of U.K. politicians, writers and other people of influence who got together in 1941. ... Rudyard Kipling, British author Joseph Rudyard Kipling (December 30, 1865 – January 18, 1936) was a British author and poet, born in India. ... Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi (October 2, 1869 – January 30, 1948) (Devanagari: मोहनदास करमचन्द गांधी, Gujarati મોહનદાસ કરમચંદ ગાંધી), called... Chiang Kai-shek (October 31, 1887 – April 5, 1975) was the Chinese military and political leader who assumed the leadership of the Kuomintang (KMT) after the death of Sun Yat-sen in 1925. ... Homosexuality refers to sexual interaction and / or romantic attraction between individuals of the same sex. ... J. B. Priestley John Boynton Priestley (September 13, 1894, Bradford, England - August 14, 1984, Stratford-upon-Avon) was an English writer and broadcaster. ...


  1. ^ As I Please, 24 March 1944|Tribune
  1. Orwell, George (1949). Nineteen Eighty-Four. A novel. London: Secker & Warburg. [9]
  2. Orwell, George (1949). Nineteen Eighty-Four. A novel. New York: Harcourt, Brace & Co. [10]
  3. Orwell, George (1977 (reissue)). 1984, Erich Fromm (Foreword), Signet Classics. ISBN 0451524934.
  4. Orwell, George (2003 (Centennial edition)). Nineteen Eighty-Four, Thomas Pynchon (Foreword); Erich Fromm (Afterword), Plume. ISBN 0452284236.

is the 83rd day of the year (84th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 1944 (MCMXLIV) was a leap year starting on Saturday (link will display full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Tribune is a democratic socialist weekly, currently a magazine though in the past more often a newspaper, published in London. ...

See also

  Results from FactBites:
Orwellian - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (554 words)
Orwellian describes a situation, idea, or condition that George Orwell identified as being inimical to the welfare of a free-society.
Orwellian is also used to describe oppressive political ideas, and the use of euphemistic language in political discourse to camouflage morally outrageous ideas and actions.
In this latter sense, the term is often used as a means of attacking an opponent in political debate, by branding his or her policies as Orwellian.
Orwellian - definition of Orwellian in Encyclopedia (261 words)
Orwellian describes a situation or idea similar to the fiction of George Orwell; particularly his political novel Nineteen Eighty-Four.
It is also used for oppressive political ideas and the use of euphemistic language in political discourse to camouflage morally outrageous ideas and actions.
The extensive use of the word Orwellian, often simply to attack political ideas that a writer or speaker does not like, is directly against Orwell's own political views.
  More results at FactBites »



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