Oxford English Dictionary announces ‘post-truth’ as 2016’s Word of the Year

by Beki Winchel

Those grappling with Brexit or President-elect Donald Trump’s recent victory now have a perfect descriptor for their feelings.

Oxford English Dictionaries selected “post-truth” as its notable term of 2016.

The adjective means: “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.”


Though “post-truth” has existed for a decade, OED reported a spike in the term’s use, especially in relation to United Kingdom’s EU referendum and the United States presidential election.

Katherine Connor Martin, the head of United States dictionaries at Oxford University Press, said it surged most sharply in June after the Brexit vote and Donald J. Trump’s securing the Republican nomination for president, making it an unusually global word.

“What we found especially interesting is that it encapsulated a trans-Atlantic phenomenon,” she said. “Often, when looking at words, you’ll find one that’s a really big deal in the U.K. but not in the U.S.”

“It has also become associated with a particular noun, in the phrase post-truth politics,” OED reported.

The adjective also beat out other top choices that include “glass cliff,” “Brexiteer,” “alt-right,” “adulting,” “hygge” and “coulrophobia.”


This originally appeared in PR Daily.

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