Welcome to Big Brother, everyone. Season 21 has officially begun, and it’s going to be one helluva summer. Alliances, showmances, a Zingbot roast...there’s so much entertainment in store *cue maniacal laughter*. Now if you just read that last sentence and had no idea what any of it meant, don’t fret. There’s a lot of Big Brother lingo to get the hang of, and things can be super confusing at first. If you’re scratching your head trying to figure out WTF a “have-not” or a ”floater” is, here’s a handy glossary of all the BB terms you need to know.
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.
Back-doored: Hold the dirty jokes, please-getting back-doored is not a good thing in the BB house. It’s a particularly conniving move made by a Head of Household (more on that further down). The HOH will nominate two people for elimination, neither of whom is the HOH’s real target, in the hopes that someone in their alliance wins the Power of Veto. Whoever wins the Power of Veto can save one of the people up for elimination, in which case the HOH has to replace them. In a back-door situation, the HOH will choose their real target as the replacement, who now has no chance to save themselves through competition. If the house votes the way the HOH wants and evicts their target, that target has been back-doored.
The block: Two people get nominated by the Head of Household each week to sit on the block. This means they’re up for elimination.
Blood on my hands: *Takes a shot every time a houseguest says this* *dies*. No, but seriously, 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.
Comp beast: This is someone who wins a lot of competitions. Most of the comps involve physical activity, so the comp beasts are usually athletic.
Diary room: This is where the houseguests conduct their interviews. A producer will ask them questions via audio (no one else is in the room but the houseguest), and the houseguest will talk about whatever’s going on in the house.
Floater: Alliances are everything in Big Brother, but not everyone has one. These people are called floaters because they float around and don’t really have a core group. Dangerous.
Have-nots: A common BB punishment is to become a have-not. The have-nots have to sleep in the have-not room, which is made to be super uncomfortable, and they have to eat slop all week. It’s basically torture.
HOH: Aka Head of Household. This person runs the game for the week. They get their own private room and bathroom, snacks, an iPod, and a letter from a friend or family member. They choose which two people go up on the block for elimination, and they’re the deciding vote for who goes home if the house ends in a tie.
Jury: Once the competition narrows down to 11 players, the evicted houseguests start going to the jury house. Instead of returning to their normal lives, the jury members stay in a fancy mansion together. They have access to movies, games, and a pool, but they’re still cut off from the outside world. On the last night of the competition, the jury returns to vote for the winner of Big Brother. This is why “jury management” is important-the players still in the game have to make sure they don’t piss off anyone in the jury too much.
Live feed: CBS All Access streams the live BB house camera feeds on their website, so this is where you can watch the houseguests in real time. You’ll see way more content that doesn’t make the final cut of the episodes, including lots of ~drama~.
Pawn: A pawn is essentially a piece in the HOH’s game. The HOH has to nominate two people for elimination, but they’ll often use a “pawn” to go up on the block next to their real target. The idea is that everyone will vote for the target to go home, but as the old BB adage goes “pawns always go home.”
Power of Veto: The power of veto is usually the only way someone on the block can save themselves from elimination. The two nominees, plus the HOH and three other houseguests chosen at random, play in a competition. Whoever wins gets the power of veto, which means they can choose to take someone off the block, take themselves off the block, or keep the nominations the same.
Showmance: Aka the thing everyone says they’re not going to get into but do anyway. When you’re living in a house with other people for months on end, you’re bound to get close to some of them...like, really close. Each season of Big Brother creates at least one showmance, which is a couple who form in the house. No tea, no shade, but I’m pretty sure BB showmances have a higher success rate than The Bachelor.
Slop: The dreaded slop is what the have-nots are forced to eat. It looks nasty, but it’s basically just oatmeal fortified with protein and vitamins.
Superfan: Big Brother has plenty of stans who know everything about the show and have watched every season, and sometimes they make it onto the show. A superfan will usually reveal themselves to the audience, but some keep it a secret from the other houseguests since it can be seen as a major advantage.
Veteran: Every once in a while, Big Brother will bring back a contestant from a previous season. This person is known as a veteran since they’ve played the game before. Probably a bigger advantage than being a superfan, tbh.
Zingbot: It wouldn’t be Big Brother without Zingbot! About halfway through the season, a sassy robot named Zingbot pays a visit to the BB house. He throws out one zinger after another and pretty much drags everyone in the house.
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