Why 'Fake News' Won Collins Dictionary's Word of the Year

Other phrases on the shortlist included "Antifa" and "echo chamber."

Getty Images / Christopher Gregory

One of president Donald Trump’s oft-repeated phrases has won an award. Fake news, the term regularly employed by Trump to describe a broad spectrum of media outlets, is Collins Dictionary’s word of the year. The decision was made following a 365 percent rise in usage over the past year.

The term will now make its way into the group’s next dictionary, with the definition of the noun reading: “false, often sensational, information disseminated under the guise of news reporting.”

As Trump approaches the end of his first year in office, it’s perhaps unsurprising that the word played such a big role in events. The president has decried a number of outlets for fabricating stories, including CNN, ABC, the New York Times, CBS and the Washington Post. In one instance, he declared them all fake news in a single tweet, ignoring an attack on a Minnesota mosque in order to tweet about himself back in August:

Trump regularly tells his 41.7 million Twitter followers about so-called fake news outlets. This summer, one of his tweets stirred up controversy after CNN identified the man that created an animation that Trump shared. The GIF showed Trump wrestling with a man that had the network’s logo superimposed over his face.

Fake news wasn’t the only political term to make the shortlist. Other words considered for inclusion included Antifa, a short-hand term referring to the anti-fascist movement, and echo-chamber, used to describe an environment, especially on social media, in which a person doesn’t receive exposure to conflicting ideas. Corbynmania, referring to the frenzy around British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, also rose in usage again with the country’s summer election.

It’s not the first time that a political phrase won the top prize. Last year’s winner was Brexit, added to the dictionary with the definition “the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union.”

Watch Collins’ announcement of the winning word below:

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