The Oxford dictionary declared “post-truth” the word of the year on Wednesday following its increased use on the back of Brexit and Donald Trump’s election victory.
Oxford defined the word 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,” adding that it is commonly associated with the phrase “post-truth politics.”
After a slow start to the year, the use of the word peaked in June, at the time of the Britain's unexpected “no” vote to leave the European Union and also around October in the lead-up to the U.S. presidential elections.
The use of the term increased by a whopping 2,000 percent from 2015 to 2016, the British-based dictionary said. A Google search for the word returns over 11 million results.
Oxford said that the once “peripheral” term is now “a mainstay in political commentary, now often being used by major publications without the need for clarification or definition in their headlines.”
The term was increasing used when referring to politicians fear mongering, bending the truth and lying to create attention and popular support. The “post” prefix, similar to “post-racial” indicates that the subsequent term has become “unimportant or irrelevant.”
Casper Grathwohl from Oxford pointed out that social media helped to boost the word’s popularity and may become “one of the defining words of our time,” he told the BCC.
Other shortlisted political words that for this year’s title included “Brexiter”: someone who supports the U.K. leaving the EU, “woke”: being aware of injustices in society and the community and “alt-right”: a grouping of extreme conservative viewpoints, which rejects mainstream politics using controversial content.
“Latinx” also shot to popularity, with people of latin american background using as neutral and non gender option instead of Latino/a.