"Post-truth" named Word of the Year for 2016 by Oxford Dictionaries
Post-truth saw its usage for the first time in an essay written for the Nation Magazine by the late Serbian-American playwright Steve Tesich. It was used to reflect the Iran-Contra scandal and the Persian Gulf War.
Jitesh JhaNov 17, 2016 11:22 IST
The word Post Truth was named as word of the year 2016 by Oxford Dictionaries on 16 November 2016. The word was selected after research conducted by Oxford Dictionaries revealed a fact that the use of word post-truth saw an increase of about 2000 percent over its usage in 2015.
The Word of the Year of Oxford Dictionary is an expression or word that is chosen to reflect the passing year in language. These words are chosen by the Oxford after reviewing and debating on the merits of the words, ethos, mood or preoccupations of that particular year.
About word Post-truth
Post-truth (adjective): Relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.
It is also become associated with a particular noun, in the phrase ‘post-truth politics’.
The word post-truth has been in existence for more than a decade but its usage saw a spike some events of recent past. The events that saw increase in frequency of usage of term post-truth like
a) It was used maximum time in June 2016 in the United Kingdom during European Union referendum.
b) It also saw its usage during the United States Presidential election. It again saw the rise in usage in July 2016 when Donald Trump secured the Republican presidential nomination.
As per Oxford Dictionaries, the word post-truth was first used in a 1992 essay of the Nation Magazine. The essay was written by the late Serbian-American playwright Steve Tesich. Reflecting on the Iran-Contra scandal and the Persian Gulf War, Tesich lamented that ‘we, as a free people, have freely decided that we want to live in some post-truth world’. There is evidence of the phrase ‘post-truth’ being used before Tesich’s article, but apparently with the transparent meaning ‘after the truth was known’, and not with the new implication that truth itself has become irrelevant.
Words shortlisted to be the Word of the Year
Certain words which were shortlisted to be the Word of the Year reflect the social, economic, political, cultural and technological trends and events that have been a part of 2016. These words were either coined in 2016 or are the older ones. The words were
• Adulting (noun): The practice of behaving in a way characteristic of a responsible adult, especially the accomplishment of mundane but necessary tasks.
• Alt-right (noun): 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.
• Brexiteer (noun): A person who is in favour of the United Kingdom withdrawing from the European Union.
• Chatbot (noun): A computer program designed to simulate conversation with human users, especially over the Internet.
• Coulrophobia (noun): Extreme or irrational fear of clowns
• Glass cliff (noun): 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. The word was coined in 2004 by psychologists Michelle Ryan and Alex Haslam.
• Hygge (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 (noun): A person of Latin American origin or descent (used as a gender-neutral or non-binary alternative to Latino or Latina).
• Woke (adjective): Alert to injustice in society, especially racism.