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What's The Word Of The Year For 2017?

President Donald Trump reacts to the song as he arrives at a rally at the Phoenix Convention Center, Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017, in Phoenix.
Alex Brandon / Associated Press
President Donald Trump reacts to the song as he arrives at a rally at the Phoenix Convention Center, Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2017, in Phoenix.
What's The Word Of The Year For 2017?
'Fake News' Tops 2017 Word Of The Year List GUEST: Grant Barrett, co-host, "A Way With Words"

2016 was a dumpster fire. Last year was the year of fake news. That's according to the selections made in the American dialect Society's annual word of the year contest. Fake news was named the word or phrase the best represented the public discourse of 2017 other categories include digital word of the year, most useful word and most creative. Grant Barrett helped run the voting and he is vice president of the American dialect Society and cohost of a way with words heard on KPBS radio . Fake news was actually one of the nominees last year. Back then, it actually meant something else. >> It didn't get very much traction in 2016. Fake news with actual fake news. And now we've got almost the inverse definition which is fake news is also something that is absolutely true but somebody decides to claim is not true because it doesn't support their worldview, politics, or what they're up to. >> The winner of the unit -- euphemism was -- three words generated by President Trump. Have there been years with so much influence from one person quick >> No. When Obama first took office we had a ton of Obama -related words. Most of them were not popular enough to show up in this contest. And the thing is, that is a minimum version of the words it could have been included that have come from the last 12 to 18 months of political discourse. It is a great time right now for new language or a bad time depending on your prospective. >> What was the hashtag of the year? >> The hashtag of the year with me to. Women standing up and saying I have been a victim of sexual aggression or I have been sexually assaulted. My gender has been a problem in other people's eyes and cause me difficulty at work a lot of them have kept the secret for decades or longer have stood up and said it is time that we all demonstrate that you are not a long it happen to me too . >> Not all of the categories were so serious. >> A Breaux flake is a man or boy who lacks the coping skills in the face of disagreement or failure or just a basic life setback these are the kind of people that if you challenge their beliefs are their opinions they accuse you of destroying their universe. This is just a conversation between peers. >> Agenda rise version of Snowflake. >> What was the most creative word of the year tran06 >> A lot of these words are the rising feminine tide of politics and entertainment and a variety of other industries where women are coming to the fore and the patriarchy that is been in power for so long was weakened or nearly destroyed. I think Breaux flake, you think that this is a big deal. Someone deferred with your opinion this is been happening with us forever. Welcome to our word, broflake . >> What was the slang word of the year? >> Why people which is a phonetic representation of the African-American of white people. It is used by some African-Americans to refer to white people as a whole particularly when they get up to exercising their privilege in a blatant or obvious way. >> She wrote on Twitter that many linguists of color do not attend the word of the year vote. Every time there is a word or phrase from African-American culture I do not feel empowered, I cringe. Is this a case of cultural appropriation? >> There are plenty of people of color in the room but she is right in the fact that it is important to get voices from all the different communities. Really, it happens like dictionaries happen. You don't have the words from the African-American speakers of English compiled and edited for a dictionary only by African American people. Who does the task go to ? you just do it. After they win this contest, they will go want to be defined academically and professionally. It will get the full treatment and all of the contacts will be added, where it comes from, which people used to, -- >> Do you think she has a point though tran06 >> I do. There were 400 some odd people there. I know we have people of all colors and races and backgrounds and nationalities in the room. Whether or not they stood up and made their nominations heard, I don't know. I cannot make them speak in the room. It is possible she didn't feel welcome there, and we are working on it. >> Why is it important we look back on the partly words each year tran06 >> Language changes. The other thing that some linguists deal with as new addition to the Lexus, the overall body of words and vocabulary we have this vote draws attention to that in a way that is accessible to the general public. Somebody who is not a specialist in the field, this is interesting and perhaps I need to learn more about linguistics. >> I've been speaking with the cohost of a way with words. Grant, thank you.

The year 2016 may have been a "dumpster fire," but last year was the year of "fake news."

The American Dialect Society held its annual Word of the Year contest Friday night, and "fake news" was named the word or phrase that best represented the public discourse of 2017. The phrase had been nominated for the 2016 contest, back when it primarily meant misinformation that was spread online.

“When President Trump latched on to fake news early in 2017, he often used it as a rhetorical bludgeon to disparage any news report that he happened to disagree with,” said Ben Zimmer, chair of the American Dialect Society’s New Words Committee. “Trump’s version of fake news became a catchphrase among the president’s supporters, seeking to expose biases in mainstream media...but it also developed more ironic uses, and it spread to speakers of all ages as a sarcastic putdown.”


Other Trump-related words on the list were the euphemism of the year, "alternative facts," made popular by Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway after the White House pushed back against reports on the crowd size at Trump's inauguration, and "covfefe," a likely Trump typo that was named WTF Word of the Year.

Grant Barrett, co-host of "A Way With Words" and vice president of the American Dialect Society, presided over the voting this year and joined KPBS Midday Edition with more of the year's winners.