noun, often capitalized
new·​speak | \ ˈnü-ˌspēk How to pronounce newspeak (audio) , ˈnyü- \

Definition of newspeak

: propagandistic language marked by euphemism, circumlocution, and the inversion of customary meanings

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Newspeak Comes From 1984

The term "newspeak" was coined by George Orwell in his 1949 anti-utopian novel 1984. In Orwell's fictional totalitarian state, Newspeak was a language favored by the minions of Big Brother and, in Orwell's words, "designed to diminish the range of thought." Newspeak was characterized by the elimination or alteration of certain words, the substitution of one word for another, the interchangeability of parts of speech, and the creation of words for political purposes. The word has caught on in general use to refer to confusing or deceptive bureaucratic jargon.

Examples of newspeak in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web For a grid with a lot of debuts there’s very little newspeak and branding today, and a lot of interesting bits and pieces. Caitlin Lovinger, New York Times, "It’s Office-Bound," 14 Mar. 2020 To be sure, Orwell was there to remind us about the dangers of newspeak. Christopher O. Blum, National Review, "C. S. Lewis and the Religion of Science," 12 Sep. 2019 Newspeak: ambiguous language, chiefly used to further political propoganda, the term newspeak is also the language of Oceania, a fictional totalitarian state ruled by the Party, in George Orwell’s world of Nineteen Eighty-Four. Patrick May, The Mercury News, "A glossary for a capital in chaos: Memogate, deep state and much much more," 17 May 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'newspeak.' 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 newspeak

1949, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for newspeak

Newspeak, a language "designed to diminish the range of thought," in the novel 1984 (1949) by George Orwell

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Time Traveler for newspeak

Time Traveler

The first known use of newspeak was in 1949

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Cite this Entry

“Newspeak.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Aug. 2020.

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More Definitions for newspeak


How to pronounce newspeak (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of newspeak

disapproving : speech or writing that uses words in a way that changes their meaning especially to persuade people to think a certain way

More from Merriam-Webster on newspeak

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with newspeak Encyclopedia article about newspeak

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