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Oxford Dictionaries' 'Word Of The Year' Perfectly Sums Up 2016

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In a year that's seen Brexit and Donald Trump's election to the most powerful office in the world, Oxford Dictionaries has chosen "post-truth" as its international word of the year.

It defined the term as an adjective “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief”, reported The Guardian.

The dictionary's editors said "post-truth" reflected what it called a "highly-charged" year in politics. It could even become "one of the defining words of our time", according to Casper Grathwohl from Oxford Dictionaries.

The term, which was first used in 1992, was used around 2,000% times more in 2016 compared to last year, which Oxford Dictionaries attributed to “the context of the EU referendum in the United Kingdom and the presidential election in the United States”.

The phrase "post-truth politics" was used heavily during the EU referendum campaign when Leave campaigner Michael Gove said people in the UK "have had enough of experts", and when Nigel Farage backtracked on his pledge to spend extra money on the NHS the day after the result.

"Post-truth" was also used to describe Donald Trump's approach to campaigning for both the Republican presidential nomination and the presidency, as well as the rise of fake news websites from which many people got their news before the election.
Photo: Via @Nigel_Farage
"Fuelled by the rise of social media as a news source and a growing distrust of facts offered up by the establishment, post-truth as a concept has been finding its linguistic footing for some time," said Grathwohl.

"We first saw the frequency really spike this year in June with buzz over the Brexit vote and again in July when Donald Trump secured the Republican presidential nomination."

Last year, Oxford Dictionaries chose the "face with tears of joy emoji" as its word of 2015, which was the first time a "pictograph" had ever been chosen. The happy symbol couldn't be further away from how many of us feel about politics this year.

"Post-truth" beat out other political terms including "Brexiteer" and "alt-right" to become the word of 2016. Other terms on the shortlist included:

adulting:
noun, informal

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, characterised by a rejection of mainstream politics and by the use of online media to disseminate deliberately controversial content.

Brexiteer:
noun, informal

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.

hygge:
noun

A quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or wellbeing (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, US informal

[Originally in African-American usage] Alert to injustice in society, especially racism.
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