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'Post-truth' - international word of the year!


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'Post-truth' - international word of the year!

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“Post-truth” has been named International Word of The Year – in the wake of Brexit and the US presidential election.

Announced by Oxford Dictionaries, the publisher says it reflects a year defined by “highly-charged political and social discourse.”

What does ‘post-truth’ mean?


  • It is a compound adjective
  • It’s defined as “relating to or donating circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief”

  • The concept of post-truth has been in existence for the past decade

Why has ‘post-truth’ been chosen?


  • The word of the year process aims to select a word that “captures the ethos, mood, or preoccupations of that particular year”
  • Use of ‘post-truth’ increased by around 2,000 percent in 2016, compared to the previous year, according to Oxford Dictionaries
  • The publisher links the hike to Britain’s referendum on EU membership and the US presidential election

“It’s not surprising that our choice reflects a year dominated by highly-charged political and social discourse,” said Casper Grathwohl, President of Oxford Dictionaries, which publishes the Oxford English Dictionary and other works.

“Fuelled by the rise of social media as a news source and a growing distrust of facts offered up by the establishment, post-truth as a concept has been finding its linguistic footing for some time.”

What else was in the running?


  • ‘Alt-right’ was also up for the international word of the year title. It is defined as “an ideological grouping associated with extreme conservative or reactionary viewpoints, characterised by a rejection of mainstream politics and by the use of online media to disseminate deliberately controversial content”
  • ‘Brexiteer’ was also shortlisted – defined as a person in favour of Britain pulling out of the EU
  • “Woke” was another contender, defined as “alert to injustice in society, especially racism”
  • “Woke” has been in use by African-American communities for decades. But, according to Oxford Dictionaries, has recently gained a broader audience through the use of the phrase “stay awoke” by supporters of the US Black Lives Matter movement

What about previous years?


  • In 2015, the word of the year was a pictograph for the first time – the “Face With Tears of Joy” emoji
  • In 2014, the title went to “vape,” the act of inhaling and exhaling the vapour produced by an electronic cigarette

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