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Donald Trump's favorite phrase has become 2017's 'word of the year'

Key Points
  • Announcing the winner, U.K.-based Collins Dictionary said the term "fake news" saw an "unprecedented" rise with usage of the term increasing 365 percent since 2016
  • Other words on the short-list included "Antifa", "Echo chamber" and "Corbynmania"
  • The term "fake news" has become synonymous with U.S. President Donald Trump.
President Donald Trump speaks to business leaders as Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin (L) looks on during a Roosevelt Room event October 31, 2017 at the White House in Washington, DC.
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President Donald Trump will be characteristically pleased with himself when he hears that one of his favorite phrases, "fake news", has been named "word of the year" by dictionary publisher Collins.

Announcing the winner, U.K.-based Collins Dictionary said the term "fake news" saw an "unprecedented" rise with usage of the term increasing 365 percent since 2016.

Defining "fake news" as meaning "false, often sensational, information disseminated under the guise of news reporting," Collins said the word had come top of its annual assessment of the most used words in the English language and will now have its own entry in next year's dictionary.

The term has become synonymous with Trump who has used the phrase repeatedly to criticize the media, particularly during his now infamous Twitter rants, and what he perceives to be inaccurate reporting.


Helen Newstead, the head of language content at Collins, said that much of this year's list of words was "definitely politically charged."

"'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," she said.

Trump appeared to claim in a recent interview that he had coined the phrase, reportedly telling Mick Huckabee (who also ran for the Republican presidential nomination) in an interview that: "I guess other people have used it (the term 'fake' in conjunction with 'media') perhaps over the years, but I've never noticed it. And it's a shame. And they really hurt the country," he said.

However Collins, which is part of the HarperCollins publishing empire and has published dictionaries since 1819, said on Thursday that the association of "fake" with "news" started out in the field of comedy, as exemplified by shows such as Jon Stewart's "The Daily Show" and Chris Morris's "The Day Today."

Then, around 2005, the term began to be applied to false news stories that were circulated with malicious intent rather than as satire.

"During the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign pundits noted the large number of websites broadcasting false stories about the candidates under the guise of news. Then in January 2017 Donald Trump dismissed reports from the CNN news agency about his alleged links with Russia as 'fake news'. Claims that potentially damaging stories were 'fake news', and enquiries into the proliferation of such stories were a major part of the news agenda in 2017," the dictionary publisher noted.

Other shortlisted words in 2017:

"Unicorn": An imaginary creature depicted as a white horse with one long spiralled horn growing from its forehead, regarded as symbol of innocence and purity. A recently launched business enterprise that is valued at more than $1 billion.

"Echo chamber": An environment, especially on a social media site, in which any statement of opinion is likely to be greeted with approval because it will only be read or heard by people who hold similar views

"Gig economy": An economy in which there are few permanent employees and most jobs are assigned to temporary or freelance workers.

"Cuffing season": The period of autumn and winter, when single people are considered likely to seek settled relationships rather than engage in casual affairs.

"Insta": Of or relating to the photo-sharing application Instagram

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