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Oct 27, 2009
This week's theme
Eponyms

This week's words
byronic
orwellian
manichean
machiavellian
draconian

George Orwell
George Orwell
Photo: Wikimedia

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A.Word.A.Day
with Anu Garg

Orwellian

PRONUNCIATION:
(or-WEL-ee-uhn)

MEANING:
adjective: Of or relating to a totalitarian state in which citizens' activities are tightly controlled.

ETYMOLOGY:
After George Orwell, pen name of Eric Blair (1903-1950), whose novel Nineteen Eighty-Four depicted a futuristic totalitarian state. Also see Big Brother.

USAGE:
"Military satellites designed to guide nuclear missiles are being used to monitor prison parolees and probationers in a technological advance designed to reduce the nation's skyrocketing prison population. But critics say it also raises the specter of an Orwellian future."
Gary Fields; Satellite 'Big Brother' Eyes Parolees; USA Today; Apr 8, 1999.

"The [remote deletion by Amazon of Orwell's books from customers' ebook devices] prompted widespread criticism from Amazon customers, rights advocates, and bloggers, on whom the Orwellian nature of Amazon's actions were not lost."
Thomas Claburn; Amazon Settles Kindle Deletion Lawsuit For $150,000; InformationWeek (New York); Oct 2, 2009.

See more usage examples of orwellian in Vocabulary.com's dictionary.

A THOUGHT FOR TODAY:
We are all atheists about most of the gods that societies have ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further. -Richard Dawkins, biologist and author (b. 1941)

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