The Oxford Dictionaries word of the year is…

After much discussion, debate, and research, the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2016 is post-truth.

post-truthIt’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.

Invest in your writing skills

Want to boost your writing skills and revel in the beauty of language?

All Things IC MasterclassesSign up to an All Things IC Writing Skills Masterclass.

They are an opportunity to develop and enhance your writing skills and share experiences with like-minded professionals.

Circulating your writing publicly, whether it’s business-related or personal, can be scary.

The next All Things IC Writing Skills Masterclass is happening in London on 22 February 2017.

It’s deliberately small (up to 10 people) to encourage attendees to share their writing experiences with each other, work on exercises together and to build confidence, enabling them to take the skills they’ve learnt back to the office and start using them straight away.

Helen Deverell @helendeverell is facilitating the session and I’m attending.

You’ll leave with the practical knowledge, skills and confidence to:

  • plan and share content
  • identify what makes a good story and how to tell it
  • write effective headlines
  • write and structure communications for different audiences and channels
  • edit and proof colleagues’ work.

This Masterclass is for you if:

  • You’re new in role or simply need to refresh your writing skills.
  • You write for print or online channels including employee magazines, newsletters, intranets, enterprise social networks, external websites or social media.
  • You draft blogs or communications on behalf of senior stakeholders.
  • You’re happy to share experiences and writing examples with peers and provide and receive honest constructive feedback.

All Things IC MasterclassesIt costs £399+VAT per person. Save your space today via the Masterclasses website, where you can also search upcoming internal comms courses.

If you work for a nonprofit organisation, contact me to get your exclusive 20 per cent off discount code.

Thank you for stopping by,


Post author: Rachel Miller

First published on the All Things IC blog 17 November 2016.


  1. John Kay says:

    Pleasingly, the Word of the Year got a mention at Prime Minister’s question time this week. And the quality of responses on social media and Comments features in the Press was more weighty and considered than last year (when the choice of the ‘Tears of joy’ emoji ruffled quite a few feathers!)

    Best wishes, and thanks for picking this up.

  2. Thanks for your comment John. Yes pleasing to see it was a word not emoji this year! Thought the shortlist was fascinating, I always enjoy seeing what’s on the list, Rachel

Submit a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

How can we help?

All Things IC helps practitioners around the globe increase their knowledge of internal communication.

There’s a variety of ways we can support you including trainingconsultancy and 1-2-1 support to boost your skills and confidence.

Or visit the shop to see everything we offer.

Who has hired All Things IC?

Clients say working with All Things IC leaves them feeling inspired, motivated, full of ideas and ready to turn plans into action.

We’re proud to have been invited to work with, and advise, some of the world’s leading brands.

Get in touch...

Would you like to work with All Things IC? Do get in touch below. Please note we only accept guest post ideas from in-house IC pros who have read the blogging guidelines.

Asking for advertising, back links or pitching services? We do not offer these and will not reply. Thank you.