Speed Reads

2016 in a nutshell

Oxford Dictionaries has chosen the word that best describes 2016

The Oxford Dictionaries dubbed "post-truth" its international word of the year, The Guardian reports:

Defined by the dictionary as an adjective "relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief," editors said that use of the term "post-truth" had increased by around 2,000 percent in 2016 compared to last year. The spike in usage, it said, is "in the context of the EU referendum in the United Kingdom and the presidential election in the United States." [The Guardian]

While occasionally the U.S. and U.K. versions of the Oxford Dictionary choose different words of the year, "post-truth" was claimed by both dictionaries for 2016 as "reflect[ing] the passing year in language." The 2015 word of the year was the "face with tears of joy" emoji.

Despite the Orwellian ring, "post-truth" is a relatively new word that Oxford claims was first used in The Nation in 1992 by the Serbian-American playwright Steve Tesich: "We, as a free people, have freely decided that we want to live in some post-truth world," he wrote on the topic of the Iran-Contra scandal and Persian Gulf war.

"Adulting," "alt-right," "Brexiteer," "chatbot," and "woke" were among the other words on the 2016 shortlist.