VOCABULARY: Thoughtcrime (George Orwel 1949)


Thoughtcrime is a word coined by George Orwell in his 1949 dystopian novel Nineteen Eighty-Four. It describes a person’s politically unorthodox thoughts, such as beliefs and doubts that contradict the tenets of Ingsoc (English Socialism), the dominant ideology of Oceania. In the official language of Newspeak, the word crimethink describes the intellectual actions of a person who entertains and holds politically unacceptable thoughts; thus the government of the Party controls the speech, the actions, and the thoughts of the citizens of Oceania.

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Are You A “Thought Criminal”?