‘Fake news’ has topped ‘halal snack pack’ to be named Macquarie Dictionary’s Word of the Year for 2016.
The committee responsible for awarding the honour defined ‘fake news’ as “disinformation and hoaxes published on websites for political purposes or to drive web traffic”.
The committee included the likes of journalist Annabel Crabb, The Chaser co-founder Dominic Knight, and Macquarie Dictionary editor Susan Butler.
In a statement, the committee said that ‘fake news’ was chosen because it sums up a shift in the way people around the world engage with media.
“It captures an interesting evolution in the creation of deceptive content as a way of herding people in a specific direction,” the committee said.
“There has come a point with fake news where people are beginning to believe what they want to believe, whether or not the news story is actually true.”
The runners-up were ‘enby’ — designating a person who does not identify as male or female — and ‘halal snack pack’, a fast food comprising layers of hot chips, grated cheese, halal doner kebab meat, garlic sauce, barbecue sauce and chilli sauce.
“The significance of halal snack pack,” the committee said, “is that it tells us about something once confined largely to the Muslim community that is now surfacing throughout the broader Australian community.”
Of course, ‘fake news’ and ‘halal snack pack’ are more ‘phrases’ than ‘words’, but hey, we won’t tell Macquarie Dictionary how to define these things.
You don’t have to take the committee’s word for it, though — as President Donald Trump himself might say, Macquarie Dictionary is taking the power from them and giving it back to you, the people.
Voting is now open for the Macquarie Dictionary People’s Choice for Word of the Year. As well as the aforementioned ‘fake news’, ‘enby’ and ‘halal snack pack’, this year’s finalists for the People’s Choice award include ‘alt-right’, ‘bubble soccer’, ‘fatberg’, ‘filter bubble’, ‘greige’, ‘patient navigator’, ‘plyscraper’, ‘racebending’, ‘rumbler alarm’, ‘shoefiti’, ‘standing desk’ and ‘youlk’.
Voting for the People’s Choice award closes on Tuesday 31 January.
Late last year, Oxford Dictionaries chose ‘post-truth’ as their Word of the Year, and Merriam-Webster chose ‘surreal’.
Trump advisor Kellyane Conway’s ‘alternative facts‘ are surely a shoo-in for next year…