'Post-truth' beats 'chatbot' to Word of the Year Crown

Oxford Dictionaries' 2016 choice should make 'alt-right' 'Brexiteers' feel 'hygge'

Oxford Dictionaries has declared “post-truth” is the Word of the Year for 2016.

The word wizards say the adjective can be defined as “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief”.

“Post-truth” scored the prize because United Kingdom's Brexit vote and United States presidential election saw use of the word spike enormously. The Dictionaries therefore opine it “has gone from being a peripheral term to being a mainstay in political commentary, now often being used by major publications without the need for clarification or definition in their headlines.”

Politics greatly influenced this year's ten-word shortlist, with “Brexiteer”, “alt-right” and “Latinx” all considered for top honours, the latter word being a gender-neutral term for those of Latin American heritage.

“Coulrophobia”, the term describing an irrational fear of clowns, also made the short list, presumably as a result of the scary clown craze. Although The Register wonders if it might not also have political connotations.

The technology industry's sole entrant, “chatbot”, could not make it onto the top rung of the podium. It therefore failed to replicate "selfie"'s 2013 win or the 2007 triumph of enjoyed by "w00t".

The Danish term for “a quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being”, “hygge”, made the shortlist too.

The Register expects that Brexiteers from the alt-right will be feeling quite hygge in the knowledge that they've made the list in these post-truth times. ®


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