According to Oxford Dictionaries, the only word to describe these Trump-y, Brexit-y times is “post-truth”, awarding it the international word of 2016.
The odd adjective came to prominence this year, enjoying a rise in usage of as much as 2000 per cent, as people struggled to sum up all the gobsmackingly awful world events that are... apparently... “relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.”
Which sounds pretty 2016 to us.
Also in contention was ‘alt-right’, used to describe groups with extreme right-wing viewpoints. And almost in response to an alt-right riddled Facebook world, came another word of the year contender in the form of the cuddle-y, comfy ‘hygge’, a cosy approach to living.
It was neck and neck between the terms, with ‘Brexiteer’ also enjoying a nationalistic moment in the sun, but Trump’s triumph saw post-truth take the lead, which perhaps could be seen as an improvement on last year’s word: the tears of joy emoji, which suddenly makes 2015 feel like a lifetime ago.
Other words we were using quite a bit of this year:
- Adulting — The practice of behaving in a way characteristic of a responsible adult, especially the accomplishment of mundane but necessary tasks.
- Chatbot — A computer program designed to simulate conversation with human users, especially over the internet.
- Coulrophobia — Extreme or irrational fear of clowns.
- Glass cliff — Used with reference to a situation in which a woman or member of a minority group ascends to a leadership position in challenging circumstances where the risk of failure is high.
- Latinx — A person of Latin American origin or descent, used as a gender-neutral or non-binary alternative to Latino or Latina.