Know Your English

Know Your English

‘Word of the Year 2017’


‘Fake News’


‘Fake News’ has been declared as its ‘Word of the Year 2017’ by the Collins English Dictionary.


The dictionary defined the ‘Fake News’ as “false, often sensational, information disseminated under the guise of news reporting”.


According to Collins, the word saw an unprecedented usage increase 365% since 2016. The word ‘fake’ was originally used as part of the slang spoken among criminals who wanted to conceal their activities from prying ears. It started out as a verb, and it referred to producing a counterfeit or doctored version of something, such as money or documents.


The associate of ‘fake’ with ‘news’ started out in the field of comedy, but 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 US 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.


Collins 2017 Word of the Year Shortlist

Antifa (noun): (1) a antifascist organization (2) a member of a antifascist organization adjective: (3) involving, belonging to, or relating to a antifascist organisation


Corbynmania (noun): fervent enthusiasm for Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the UK Labour Party


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


Echo chamber (noun): 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


Fidget spinner (noun): a small toy comprising two or three prongs arranged around a central bearing, designed to be spun by the fingers as means of improving concentration or relieving stress


Gig economy (noun): an economy in which there are few permanent employees and most jobs are assigned to temporary or freelance workers


Insta (adjective): of or relating to the photo-sharing application Instagram


Unicorn (Noun) – an imaginary creature depicted as a white horse with one long spiralled horn growing from its forehead, regarded as symbol of innocence and purity.


Business (informal): a recently launched business enterprise that is valued at more than one billion dollars.