BrandArena: Collins Dictionary picks ‘fake news’ as Word of the Year

Thursday 2 November 2017

Collins Dictionary picks ‘fake news’ as Word of the Year

US President Donald Trump’s apocryphal invention “Fake news” has been named Word of the Year by Collins Dictionary after the word rose to prominence in the last 12 months with an unprecedented usage increase of 365 percent since 2016.

The dictionary traced that the association of the word "fake" with "news" originated from the field of comedy "as exemplified by shows such as Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show and Chris Morris’s The Day Today." 

Collins Dictionary’s lexicographers, who monitor the 4.5bn-word Collins corpus, said the phrase, often capitalised, is frequently a feature of Donald Trump’s rhetoric; in the last few days alone he has tweeted of how “the Fake News is working overtime” in relation to the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 US presidential elections, and of how “Fake News [is] weak!”

By 2005, however, the term began to be applied to false news stories that have malicious intent instead of satire.

"Then in January 2017 Donald Trump dismissed reports from the CNN news agency about his alleged links with Russia as 'fake news.' Claims that potentially damaging stories were 'fake news,' and enquiries into the proliferation of such stories were a major part of the news agenda in 2017," Collins said.

Collins identified this year's shortlist by monitoring word output across all forms of media and by consulting their 4.5 billion word database. It checked for the words that have grown in visibility the most over the past year, reflected social and cultural developments and gained traction.

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