Collins Dictionary has named ‘fake news’ as its 2017 Word of the Year, presumably due to the momentum the phrase gathered after being repeatedly tweeted out by American President Donald Trump since his election last year.
Defined by Collins as ‘false, often sensational, information disseminated under the guise of news reporting’, media monitoring firm Signal Media points out that the phrase it has also become ‘synonymous with something that the fake news claimant disputes or merely disagrees with’.
Such is its newfound prevalence that Signal Media used its bespoke Signal Monitor to determine exactly how much 'fake news' had been used in global media in the last 12 months, along with other words on the Word of the Year shortlist, including Antifa, the conglomeration of anti-fascist movements; Corbynmania, fervent enthusiasm for the Labour leader; and Fidget Spinner, the must have toy.
It found that term 'fake news' had been used 403,609 times in the media, making it far and away the most used word on the shortlist. The second most prevalent word in the media was Unicorn, defined as a start up with a value in excess of $1 billion and a mythical creature. It appeared 120,030 times.
Insta came third, appearing more than 50,000 times; Antifa was used 38,223 instances, whilst gig economy rounded out the top five, having appeared more than 29,700 times.
The least used word from the shortlist was Corbynmania, perhaps due to the fact that such fervent enthusiam is almost entirely unique to Great Britain. It was only mentioned 412 times.