Big Brother is the name of the autocratic and absolutist dictator of Oceania in George Orwell's dystopian satire Nineteen Eighty-Four. The novel frequently refers to the slogan Big Brother Is Watching You, a term that has become associated with situations where the state exercises excessive surveillance over the individual citizen.
Big Brother as a character was probably influenced by figures such as Joseph Stalin, who promoted a brutal atheistic, communistic, and dictatorial ideology. Today the term "Big Brother" is frequently used to refer to non-beneficial monitoring of law-abiding citizens. Ironically, however, the name was later used on Conservatives by leftist radicals during the 1960s.
Orwell's depiction of Big Brother was the result of his becoming increasingly disillusioned with the Left as he grew older, as reflected by his final two novels: Animal Farm and 1984.