Please tell me the meaning of the under-lined words

Source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/indiahome/article-2560254/Identity-politics-putting-Indias-democracy-jeopardy.html#ixzz2tRy3kBH8

In retaliation the majority group feels genocidal and exterminates minorities. The distance between majority and minority often makes citizenship and adherence to the constitution the first casualty. In an Orwellian sense, it creates a feeling that some minorities are more equal than others.

Does 'in an orwellian sense' here mean according to an understanding that is based on the writings of Orwell or what Orwell would have said if he were alive? I am confused how to interpret it. Please help me interpret it.

Source: https://books.google.co.in/books?id=hoLcmxTTYWcC&pg=PA125&lpg=PA125&dq=in+an+orwellian+sense&source=bl&ots=UkI9mfEsDz&sig=m6oPt-Qvm65Be2SSFj6ezfqVjWY&hl=en&sa=X&sqi=2&ved=0ahUKEwi96bPYlfLNAhXKKY8KHVO7DSsQ6AEIaDAP#v=onepage&q=in%20an%20orwellian%20sense&f=false

During and after World War I, the Wilson administration, under the pretext of a Bolshevik threat, launched a “Red Scare” that succeeded in deterring the threat of democracy (in the true sense of the word) while reinforcing “democracy” in the technical Orwellian sense.

That stand is entirely consistent with “democracy” in the Orwellian sense of U.S. usage, just as other measures to exclude “Communists” (another term of Newspeak, referring to anyone who does not accept “democracy”) are considered legitimate, at home as well, including measures of extreme violence in our dependencies.

Does technical Orwellian sense mean the exact Orwellian interpretation and does in the Orwellian sense of U.S. usage mean how USA would interpret what Orwell meant?

Please correct me and help me interpret these.


  • There are very few people in the world who could say for certain what Orwell might have said if he were alive, but there are millions of people who have read his books and understand how these terms where used therein.
    – Jim
    Commented Jul 14, 2016 at 5:36
  • 1
    I think Orwellian usually refers to "BigBrotherish," as in the overseeing political machine from his seminal "1984" that used media to control the "hearts and mind" of the people. V for Vendetta would be a good modern interpretation of a Orwellian political machine.
    – Genxthis
    Commented Jul 14, 2016 at 5:40
  • This is simply referring to the life and writings of George Orwell, who was famed for his political satire e.g. 1984. Here the author is using it to denote a sinister media censorship regime as in 1984 Commented Jul 14, 2016 at 5:55
  • But what do these specific terms mean 1. in the technical Orwellian sense. 2. in the Orwellian sense of U.S. usage. Please shed some light on these. I am a non-native speaker so I will have trouble understanding those unlike you.
    – Policewala
    Commented Jul 14, 2016 at 5:59

1 Answer 1


The sentence:

In an Orwellian sense, it creates a feeling that some minorities are more equal than others.

is a reference to the "Animal Farm" novel by Orwell: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animal_Farm

All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others

The wikipedia article is a good link to understand the underlying meaning of the concept.
But it comes down to essentially that when one group gains power, equality vanishes as the group will set itself above others - often using arguments such as for the 'greater good'.

Meaning [others] have to give up principles or liberties to protect the greater good and that different standards of judgement exists. One for them, and one for us.

(to go further however, then it would be less of an English Language question and properly something to take over to politics exchange or similar)

  • Yes, that's likely Orwell's most famous line. In essence, oligarchies tend to form, and when they do, even if the nation is "democratic" or "socialist" in concept, those in control will acquire more privileges for themselves.
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Jul 14, 2016 at 12:32
  • In my experience, Orwellian refers to his novel 1984 and not Animal Farm, however it is a fantastic and insightful book. Commented Jul 14, 2016 at 16:44
  • 1
    The phrase "more equal than others" is a direct reference from Animal Farm, not 1984. Commented Jul 14, 2016 at 18:31

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