It’s the time of year when radio stations count down the top 100 songs of the year, when movie studios begin plugging their Oscar hopefuls and when dictionary editors choose their word of the year.
The 2018 winners give writers and readers an insight into what’s trending in the world of words.
Dictionary.com chose misinformation, defined as “false information that is spread, regardless of whether there is intent to mislead.” Unlike disinformation which means deliberately misleading or manipulated facts, misinformation is often spread by people who believe the information is true. Social media makes sharing as easy as a click and all too often fact-checking becomes an afterthought.
Dictionary.com’s runners-up include: representation thanks to box-office hits like Black Panther and Crazy Rich Asians. Self-made and backlash also made the list.
Oxford Dictionary picked toxic as their word of the year. Defined as “poisonous, venomous, morally destructive and corrupting,” the word can apply to relationships, the environment, health, culture, chemicals, online trolls, extremists and even algae according to Oxford editor Katherine Martin in a Time.com article.
Oxford’s shortlist included: Incel—”a member of an online community of young men who consider themselves unable to attract women sexually.” Techlash—“a strong and widespread negative reaction to the growing power and influence of large technology companies.” Gaslighting—”to manipulate (someone) by psychological means into doubting their own sanity.”