10 of the Most Popular Terms Used on ‘Big Brother’ and What They Mean

Like The Bachelor franchise and Jersey ShoreBig Brother is a reality show that comes with a unique vocabulary. Whether you’ve been tuning in since it premiered in July 2000 or you’re a new fan, here are 10 commonly used phrases on the CBS competition series and what they mean.

Julie Chen, the host of 'Big Brother,' the CBS' reality TV series with it's own set of unique terms
Julie Chen | Sonja Flemming/CBS via Getty Images

‘Big Brother’ stars use ‘floater’ to describe a non-threatening player 

“Floater” describes a housemate who has proven themselves to be a non-threat. They typically don’t win many competitions, but they get along with everyone in the house. This allows them to “float through” the competition with few nominations for eviction. These players might be the most likable people in the Big Brother house, but the term rarely defines a winner. 

‘Head of House’ is a weekly title 

Each week, one Big Brother contestant is deemed the “Head of House” after winning the mini-game competition for that week. This grants immunity from eviction and access the “HOH” room for the week. 

Being “Head of House” isn’t all fun, though. The “HOH” must nominate two of their Big Brother housemates for elimination. 

Being ‘on the block’ is a negative ‘Big Brother’ term

When a housemate is up for eviction, Big Brother players use the terminology “on the block” to describe their situation. Being “on the block” means the possibility of exiting the game, depending on how the voting goes. However, housemates “on the block” can always take themselves off with another Big Brother term that’s also a strategy — “Power of Veto.” 

‘Power of Veto (POV)’ can prevent an elimination

The two HOH-nominated housemates “on the block” compete for the “Power of Veto,” an opportunity to remain in the game another week. “POV” competitions can go either way because they’re between everyone in the house, not just the players “on the block.” 

The ‘diary room’ is where ‘Big Brother’ contestants conduct interviews 

No reality show is complete without a confessional-style interview. Producers ask Big Brother contestants questions in the “diary room,” which the housemates use to describe the space where they talk about whatever is going on in the house. 

‘Pawn’ is a term that describes someone the ‘HOH’ uses for personal gain 

When a “HOH” has a clear target in mind for eviction, they’ll put a “pawn” — a likable houseguest who is at low risk of getting eliminated — “on the block.” In this way, they’re essentially forcing others to vote for their main target. 

‘Showmance’s are common on ‘Big Brother’ 

A “showmance,” or show-based romance, will often happen in a competition show like Big Brother. Typically, developing a “showmance” is a strategic move on the couple’s part, but one that puts a target on their backs. 

‘Competition beasts’ are ‘Big Brother’ winners

This term describes a housemate with the ability to win a lot of competitions. Most Big Brother “competition beasts” are physically athletic. 

‘Blood on my hands’ comes up in almost every episode 

In Big Brother, “blood on my hands” is a commonly used phrase that means someone upset the other competitors. A huge part of the game is gaining other players’ trust and it’s important to maintain relationships, but it’s easy to wrong another competitor and leave “blood on your hands.” For example, putting a “comp beast” “on the block” is a common way competitors get “blood on their hands.” 

Competing on ‘Big Brother’ is all about forming ‘alliances’

Another wildly popular Big Brother term is “alliance.” People in an “alliance” pledge to make most decisions together, like who to target and who to protect. These allegiances are the bread and butter of the series, as competitors start forming them almost immediately. 

Watch Big Brother on CBS

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