big brother


Definition of big brother

1 : an older brother
2 : a man who serves as a companion, father figure, and role model for a boy
3 capitalized both Bs [Big Brother, personification of the power of the state in 1984 (1949) by George Orwell]
a : the leader of an authoritarian state or movement
b : an all-powerful government or organization monitoring and directing people's actions

Examples of big brother in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Since its debut, the XE has always been a smaller clone of Jaguar's mid-size XF, and the 2020 updates bring it even closer to its bigger brother. Steve Siler, Car and Driver, "The Updated Jaguar XE Deserves a Better Engine," 29 Jan. 2020 Elgin, Jerry, Wilt, Gail, Kareem, Magic, and James were their grandfather’s, father’s, or big brother’s guys. Bob Ryan,, "Kobe Bryant was an original; there really wasn’t anyone like him," 29 Jan. 2020 Growing up with a troubled big brother, Na’im had early on developed a sensitivity to others. Joseph Goldstein, New York Times, "The brothers shared a bunk bed growing up in Brooklyn.," 24 Jan. 2020 Two more photos, taken after she’d given birth, show her holding baby Elliott with big brother Oliver, 5, by her side. Richard A. Marini,, "San Antonio breast cancer survivors bare their bodies, mastectomy scars and all," 10 Jan. 2020 Perhaps now their dads and big brothers can accept the challenge of taking the same imaginative leaps that women have been making for more than a century. Ann Hornaday, Washington Post, "Can real men love ‘Little Women’? Greta Gerwig thinks they should.," 19 Dec. 2019 The 4-year-old held mom Kate Middleton’s hand and hid a little behind her mother’s skirt, as they, dad Prince William and big brother Prince George arrived at Thomas’s Battersea school in London. Martha Ross, The Mercury News, "Just call her Charlotte Cambridge: Princess Charlotte starts school," 5 Sep. 2019 Their two older siblings, big brothers to Kayla, are now playing at he next level. Mike Gramajo,, "Lake Highland Prep standout Kayla Blackshear has basketball bloodlines and sight set on FHSAA title," 5 Dec. 2019 Theo’s parents, Renard and Carly, and big brother Mason, will be among the family gathered for a Thanksgiving filled with laughter, a traditional feast and prayers of gratitude. Lisa Peklo,, "West Friendship: Warm up at HorseSpirit gallery show in Savage," 29 Nov. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'big brother.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of big brother

1809, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for big brother

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The first known use of big brother was in 1809

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Statistics for big brother

Last Updated

17 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Big brother.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Feb. 2020.

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Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for big brother

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with big brother

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