After much discussion, debate, and research, the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2016 is post-truth.
It’s an adjective 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.
The Word of the Year shortlist includes one of my favourite words, hygge. (See Pinterest for lots of excellent hygge boards).
Hygge is a mass noun and is a quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being. It’s regarded as a defining characteristic of Danish culture.
At this time of year it’s a wonderful way to describe curling up on the sofa with a large mug of hot chocolate. Sigh.
Anyway, back to the words…
What is post-truth?
The concept of post-truth has been in existence for the past decade, but Oxford Dictionaries says it has seen a spike in frequency this year in the context of the EU referendum and presidential election in the United States.
It has also become associated with a particular noun, in the phrase post-truth politics.
Post-truth 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.
What do you think of it?
Let’s take a look at the shortlist:
I like adulting, I’ve noticed it creeping in to conversations with friends and on parenting forums.
adulting, n. [mass noun] informal the practice of behaving in a way characteristic of a responsible adult, especially the accomplishment of mundane but necessary tasks.
alt-right, n. (in the US) an ideological grouping associated with extreme conservative or reactionary viewpoints, characterized by a rejection of mainstream politics and by the use of online media to disseminate deliberately controversial content. Find out more about the word’s rise.
Brexiteer, n. British informal a person who is in favour of the United Kingdom withdrawing from the European Union.
chatbot, n. a computer program designed to simulate conversation with human users, especially over the Internet.
coulrophobia, n. [mass noun] rare extreme or irrational fear of clowns.
glass cliff, n. used with reference to a situation in which a woman or member of a minority group ascends to a leadership position in challenging circumstances where the risk of failure is high. Explore the word’s history from one of the inventors of the term, Alex Haslam.
hygge, n. [mass noun] a quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being (regarded as a defining characteristic of Danish culture):
Latinx, n. (plural Latinxs or same) and adj. a person of Latin American origin or descent (used as a gender-neutral or non-binary alternative to Latino or Latina); relating to people of Latin American origin or descent (used as a gender-neutral or non-binary alternative to Latino or Latina).
woke, adj. (woker, wokest) US informal alert to injustice in society, especially racism. Read more about the evolution of woke throughout 2016.
Here’s an overview of them all:
Confused by the language of internal communication? See my glossary to bust through the jargon.
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Post author: Rachel Miller
First published on the All Things IC blog 17 November 2016.