Every year, Oxford Dictionaries analyzes language trends and declares the most commonly used word of the year that best describes the current cultural climate. Last year, it was the crying face emoji. This year, it’s “post-truth.”
Defined as “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief,” post-truth has apparently increased in usage by more than 2,000 percent, just this last year, with a particular rise after Brexit and the Trump campaign. Not surprisingly, “alt-right” was a close second.
“Fueled 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 Oxford Dictionaries’ Casper 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. Given that usage of the term hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down, I wouldn’t be surprised if post-truth becomes one of the defining words of our time.”
Funny, I totally thought it would be “yuge.” But I guess in the post-apocalypse, the post-truth will set you free.