‘Post-truth’ named word of 2016, beating out ‘Brexiteer’ and ‘alt-right’

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Oxford Dictionaries said the term was first used in 1992 by The Nation magazine. Photo by Flickr user emdot.

Oxford Dictionaries said the term was first used in 1992 by The Nation magazine. Photo by Flickr user emdot.

Oxford Dictionaries named “post-truth” the word of the year Tuesday for its frequented use in the 2016 political climate.

Oxford Dictionaries defined ”post-truth” as “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.”

In other words, truth is regarded as “less important,” Katherine Connor Martin, head of U.S. dictionaries at Oxford University Press, told the NewsHour.

Use of “post-truth” increased by 2,000 percent from 2015 to 2016, according to research from Oxford Dictionaries editors. The group said in a statement that the word was most used in connection with the Brexit vote and the U.S. presidential election.

“We found it really fascinating that this year there was something that resonated so strongly in both the United Kingdom and the United States with respect to different topical issues, but reflecting this overall ethos about 2016,” Martin said.

The term made so famous this year was first used by The Nation magazine in a 1992 essay about the Persian Gulf War and Iran-contra scandal, Martin said. She also noted the “quiet language change” of the prefix “post” to mean something is less important than it used to be is becoming popular with words such as post-national and post-racial.

Post-truth beat out other political terms, including “Brexiteer,” “glass cliff” and “alt-right.”

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