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The 2017 ‘word of the year’ is actually two words and also deeply annoying

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Dave Fawbert
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Fake news

We suppose that, when you’re making dictionaries, trying to drum up publicity and getting people to upgrade to the latest model is probably quite difficult. Probably quite a bit more difficult than, say, persuading people to upgrade to the latest iPhone.

So you have to do what you can to get people interested in your latest ‘upgrades’; specifically, alerting them to new and trendy words that have made it into your latest tome. Which explains the annual ridiculousness of the ‘word of the year’, which is announced annually by various different dictionaries who invariably choose their own, different one, based on completely arbitrary judgements.

STILL, HERE WE ARE WRITING ABOUT IT EH, and we’re delighted to announce that “fake news” has been named word of the year by Collins Dictionary, and will appear in their new edition.

Now, eagle-eyed readers among you will notice that “fake news” is actually two words, so we’re not quite sure how it can be word of the year. More fake news we guess?

Anyway, we all know what it means: technically it is defined as “false, often sensational, information disseminated under the guise of news reporting” but obviously its most common usage, by the likes of the orange overlord who we will not name here, is simply to describe in-fact-accurate reporting that you just don’t like because it exposes your lies and flaws and is generally a bit mean about you.

It’s apparently seen a 365 per cent rise in use since 2016 which is a weirdly specific number for something that’s surely so difficult to measure.

ANYWAY.

It follows in the footsteps of previous Collins word of the years which, we think you’ll all agree, have stood the test of time:

2016: Brexit

2015: Binge-watch

2014: Overshare

2013: Geek

2012: Gangnam Style (again, two words)

Other words that did well in 2017 include Corbynmania, after Jezza’s triumphant election campaign, “antifa” (an abbreviation of “anti-fascist”), “insta”, “gender fluid” (THAT’S TWO WORDS AGAIN), “fidget spinner” (AGAIN, TWO), “gig economy” (DEFINITELY TWO THERE) and “cuffing season” (WE GIVE UP) and “echo chamber” (YEP), which we agree with, because we’ve seen all our friends using it on social media so everyone in the country must be using it too, we assume.

Helen Newstead, Collins’ head of language content, stated: “Much of this year’s list is definitely politically charged, but with a new president in the US and a snap election in the UK it is perhaps no surprise that politics continues to electrify the language. ‘Fake news’, either as a statement of fact or as an accusation, has been inescapable this year, contributing to the undermining of society’s trust in news reporting: given the term’s ubiquity and its regular usage by President Trump, it is clear that Collins’ Word of the Year ‘fake news’ is very real news.”

All of these new words (well, “fake” and “news” are not new but together we suppose they are “new”) will be added to CollinsDictionary.com and then considered for incluson in future print editions.

So which should we refer to for Scrabble arguments? Online or print?

Who knows anymore. Who knows.

(Image: CNN)

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Dave Fawbert

ShortList.com staff writer Dave’s primary passions are pop, prose, punning and power ballads (and alliteration). A lower division football enthusiast and long-suffering cricket fan, he is one of only 110 people followed on Twitter by Chas Hodges from Chas ‘n’ Dave. Follow Dave on Twitter like Chas: @davefawbert

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