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‘Fake news’ adjudged word of the year by Collins dictionary

Collins’ lexicographers said usage of the term, popularised by President Donald Trump, had increased by 365% since 2016.

world Updated: Nov 02, 2017 18:56 IST
Prasun Sonwalkar
Prasun Sonwalkar
Hindustan Times, London
Fake news,Collins dictionary,US President Donald Trump
US President Donald Trump popularised the term.(Reuters File)

“Fake news” – the term popularised by US President Donald Trump – has been adjudged the word of the year by Collins dictionary after its lexicographers found it had had a “ubiquitous presence” over the last year.

Collins’ lexicographers said usage of the term had increased by 365% since 2016. The dictionary believes that its origins lie in US television, where it was used to describe “false, often sensational, information disseminated under the guise of news reporting”.

The term is one of the new entries to be included in the next print edition of the dictionary, along with “Corbynmania”, used to describe the enthusiasm associated with Labour Party chief Jeremy Corbyn during the UK elections earlier this year.

“Much of this year’s list is definitely politically charged, but with a new president in the US and a snap election in the UK, it is perhaps no surprise that politics continues to electrify the language,” said Collins’s head of language content, Helen Newstead.

Other words related to politics and current affairs in its list of the words of the year include “echo chamber”, defined as “an environment, especially on a social media site, in which any statement of opinion is likely to be greeted with approval because it will only be read or heard by people who hold similar views”.

Also on the list is “antifa”, a term which emerged after violent clashes between anti-fascist protesters and the far right, particularly in the US.

Collins’ “new and notable words that reflect an ever-evolving language” include “gender-fluid”, defined as “not identifying exclusively with one gender rather than another”; “cuffing season”, defined as “the period of autumn and winter when single people are considered likely to seek settled relationships rather than engage in casual affairs”, and “fidget spinner”, a toy that has gained popularity across the world, including in India.

“Gig economy”, defined as “an economy in which there are few permanent employees and most jobs are assigned to temporary or freelance workers”, also made the list, as did “Insta”, relating to social media app Instagram.

First Published: Nov 02, 2017 16:20 IST