In 2016 Oxford Dictionary announced that the word of the year was ‘Post-truth’.

Relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief.


The word of the year is chosen to reflect the past year by Oxford Dictionary. Each year a team from Oxford Dictionary comes together to review the candidates for word of the year and choose which one represents that particular year the best. Other words that were shortlisted for 2016’s word of the year were:


Adulting noun informal

The practice of behaving in a way characteristic of a responsible adult, especially the accomplishment of mundane but necessary tasks.


Alt-right noun

An ideological grouping associated with extreme conservative or reactionary viewpoints, characterised by a rejection of mainstream politics and by the use of online media to disseminate deliberately controversial content.


Brexiteer noun, informal

A person who is in favour of the united kingdom withdrawing from the European union.


Chatbot noun

A computer program designed to simulate a conversation with human users, especially over the internet.


Coulrophobia noun

Extreme or irrational fear of clowns. (2016 seen the internet craze of people scaring others by dressing as scary clowns)


Glass cliff noun

Used with reference to a situation in which a woman or member of a minority group ascends to a leadership position in challenging circumstances where the risk of failure is high.


Hygge noun

A quality of cosiness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being (regarded as a defining characteristic of Danish culture).


Latinx noun

A person of Latin American origin or descent.


Woke adjective, US informal

Alert to injustice in society, especially racism (originally in African-American usage).

The shortlist for 2016’s word of the year reflects the cultural, economic, political, social and technological trends of 2016. The word ‘Adulting’ proving this as, especially in 2016, it has been very popular with millennials through memes. The use of the phrase ‘stay woke’ by Black Lives Matter supporters is what broadened the audience of the word ‘Woke’, again showing why this word was shortlisted for 2016.

If you take a look back at previous ‘words of the years’ you can remember their popularity at the time. Check out some of the previous words of the year:

Year           UK Word of the year           US Word of the year

2016           Post-truth

2015           Face with tears of joy emoji

2014           Vape

2013           Selfie

2012           Omnishambles                               Gif (verb)

2011           Squeezed middle

2010           Big society                                      Refudiate

2009           Simples                                           Unfriend

2008           Credit crunch                                  Hypermiling


Do you think 2016’s word of the year is relevant and a good representation of the year? Do you have any predictions for 2017’s word of the year? Share with us on our Facebook and Twitter!

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