'Fake news' comes up trumps in word comp

9:16 pm on 2 November 2017

A phrase that has dominated the headlines - and one Twitter feed in particular - has been named the word of the year by dictionary publisher Collins.

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Photo: 123RF

"Fake news" may have become synonymous with statements from US President Donald Trump, but it appears the rest of the world has followed suit, with its use rising by 365 percent in 2017.

Politics had a big influence on the short list, with "Antifa" and "Echo-chamber" also taking their spots.

But even "Insta" - linked to the photo-sharing app Instagram - and "fidget spinner" could not beat the top phrase, defined by Collins as "false, often sensational, information disseminated under the guise of news reporting".

It is the fifth year that a word or phrase has been picked by the publisher, with previous winners including "Brexit" and "Geek".

As a result, "fake news" will become an entry in next year's dictionary.

President Trump has not been alone in using the term. Both Theresa May and Jeremy Corbyn have included it in speeches, and social media has been littered with accusations.

Helen Newstead, Collins' head of language content, said:

"'Fake news', either as a statement of fact or as an accusation, has been inescapable this year, contributing to the undermining of society's trust in news reporting."

Previous Collins' Word of the Year Winners

  • 2016 - Brexit: Noun meaning "the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union".
  • 2015 - Binge-watch: Verb meaning "to watch a large number of television programmes (especially all the shows from one series) in succession".
  • 2014 - Photobomb: Verb meaning "spoiling a photograph by stepping in front of them as the photograph is taken, often doing something silly such as making a funny face".
  • 2013 - Geek: Countable noun meaning "someone who is skilled with computers, and who seems more interested in them than in people".

Other new words hitting the shortlist included "gig economy", "gender fluid" and "cuffing season" - the latter being when single people look for a partner just to keep them warm in the winter months.

- BBC

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