Orwell (programming language)

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ParadigmLazy, functional
Designed byPhilip Wadler
DeveloperMartin Raskovsky
First appeared1984; 40 years ago (1984)
Influenced by

Orwell is a small, lazy-evaluation functional programming language implemented principally by Martin Raskovsky and first released in 1984 by Philip Wadler during his time as a Research Fellow in the Programming Research Group, part of the Oxford University Computing Laboratory. Developed as a free alternative to Miranda, it was a forerunner of Haskell and was one of the first programming languages to support list comprehensions and pattern matching.

The name is a tribute to George Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, the year in which the programming language was released. In the late 1980s and the 1990s, most of the computing practical assignments for undergraduates studying for a degree in Mathematics and Computation at Oxford University were required to be completed using the language.


  • Wadler, P.L.; et al. (1988). "Introduction to Orwell 5.00". Programming Research Group of Oxford University. {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)