‘Misinformation’ picked as word of the year by Dictionary.com

“Misinformation” was selected by Dictionary.com as its word of the year, the company said on Monday.

Dictionary.com said its choice of “misinformation” as opposed to “disinformation” was a deliberate effort to highlight a lack of intent by people at times who unknowingly spread fake news.


The site, which attracts 90 million monthly users, said the word “frames what we’ve all been through in the last 12 months.”

Jane Solomon, a linguist-in-residence at Dictionary.com, told The Associated Press that the decision to choose “misinformation” is a “call to action” for people to be aware of truth and combat the spread of false information.

Dictionary.com said while the term “misinformation” is not new, it has seen a rapid increase on social media platforms that can facilitate in spreading of false information, whether there is intent to do so or not.

“Misinformation has been around for a long time, but over the last decade or so the rise of social media has really, really changed how information is shared. We believe that understanding the concept of misinformation is vital to identifying misinformation as we encounter it in the wild, and that could ultimately help curb its impact,” Solomon said.

Search results on the popular site showed people’s "relationship with truth is something that came up again and again,” she said.

Searches for words including “mainstream,” referring to the “mainstream media” or MSM, and “Orwellian,” referring to author George Orwell and his flagship novel “1984,” surged this year, the company said.

Oxford Dictionaries picked "toxic" as its 2018 word of the year, saying the term reflects the ethos, mood and preoccupations of the past 12 months.

Dictionary.com chose “complicit” as its word last year and “xenophobia” in 2016.