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Big Brother is back: An essential guide to the show’s unique lingo

ITV’s Big Brother is back and its launch pulled in 2.6 million viewers – the highest audience for the show since 2012. 


To mark the show’s return, the team at Preply have gone through Big Brother’s past seasons to provide a breakdown of the common slang terms and phrases heard on the show to celebrate its return in 2023 after a 5-year hiatus. 

  1. Floater

The term “floater” in Big Brother slang is reserved for a housemate who has proven themselves to be a non-threat with few competition wins throughout the season. Usually, these players have a good social game in which they are cool and easy going with everyone in the house, allowing them to float through the competition with little nominations for eviction. 

Despite them being the most likeable person in the house, they still rarely leave the house as winners, although it is a possibility…

  1. Head of House

Head of House is a title given each week to the housemate that has won the minigame competition for that week, granting them immunity from eviction. Along with this huge perk, the houseguest also receives the HOH room for the week. The room comes with a big bed and private bathroom, a letter from home, and the HOH’s favourite snacks.

Along with these perks, the HOH has the difficult responsibility of placing two housemates’ on the block, which can be both good and bad for the HOH’s game. 

  1. On The Block

It’s never fun to be up for eviction, and when a housemate is on the block, that’s exactly what they’re up against. Each week, it’s the HOH’s task to put two other houseguests on the block. Being on the block means the possibility of exiting the game, depending on which of the two players on the block the houseguests vote to evict. It derives from the saying “head on the chopping block”.

Of course, things in the Big Brother house are never that simple. Housemates who are on the block have the opportunity to take themselves off the block if they earn POV.

  1. Power of Veto (POV)

With only one chance to save themselves before truly facing eviction from the house, the two HOH-nominated housemates on the block must compete in the POV competition. POV in Big Brother terms doesn’t stand for “point of view”, but Power of Veto. 

The golden POV provides an opportunity for a houseguest to remove themselves from the block and remain in the game for another week. The POV competitions can go either way, especially when the two houseguests on the block compete not only against each other but also three other houseguests, including the HOH.

  1. Diary Room

This is where the housemates conduct their interviews in a fancy over the top chair. A producer will ask them questions via audio (no one else is in the room but the housemates), and the housemate will talk about their opinions whatever’s going on in the house. 

The diary room held some iconic Big Brother moments, including Nicki Grahame’s arm-flinging rant about Susie Verrico with the cries of “WHO IS SHE?”

  1. Pawn

When an HOH has a clear target in mind for eviction, they typically don’t want the target to know they’re being aimed for, so they’ll put a pawn on the block. The pawn is a likeable houseguest whom the HOH puts on the block because they are at low risk to receive votes for eviction. 


The idea is that the other houseguests will be virtually forced to vote to evict the main target instead of the pawn.

  1. Showmance 

When a number of young, attractive people are in a house-shaped TV studio for several months, there’s bound to be a little romance. In a competition show such as Big Brother, these show-based romances have created the neologism “showmance.” A showmance is a romantic connection that blossoms within the show. 

In the case of Big Brother, developing a showmance is often a strategic blunder that puts a target on the back of both parties.

  1. Comp Beast

This is the term given to a housemate with the ability to win a lot of the competitions. Most comp beasts are usually the fit athletic type, as a lot of the comps involve a lot of physical activity. 

  1. “Blood on my hands”

You can’t go one episode without hearing this phrase. It’s obviously a metaphor, but what does it actually mean? In BB terms, it means upsetting other houseguests. A huge part of the game is gaining other players’ trust, and it’s important to maintain relationships.

 Putting a huge comp beast on the block is a common way to get blood on your hands.

  1.  Alliance

Alliances are the bread and butter of Big Brother. You won’t survive long without one, so houseguests start forming them almost immediately. The people in the alliance pledge allegiance to one another and make most decisions as a group, like who to target and who to protect.


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