Life Macquarie Dictionary names ‘fake news’ as its word of the decade
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Macquarie Dictionary names ‘fake news’ as its word of the decade

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Choosing a word to accurately summarise a whole year is hard enough as it is, but what would you pick to best reflect the last 10 years?

Macquarie Dictionary has named “fake news” – the phrase popularised by Donald Trump during the 2016 election, as its word of the decade.

Fake news outperformed a number of previous ‘word of the year’ winners to take out the title.

The word wranglers at Macquarie released a statement explaining the impact fake news has had since it seeped into our vernacular five years ago.

“While we think of fake news as a coinage of Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign, it was around before then,” the statement read.

“However, it became emblematic of that campaign and the four years that followed it.

“It became part of our lives so quickly and was so overwhelming that school courses had to be developed to teach children strategies for detecting fake news.”

Fake news has been voted as the word of the decade. Photo: Getty 

How was it judged?

Each year, Macquarie Dictionary puts out its ‘word of the year’, as voted by the people.

It also offers a second choice, decided by Macquarie’s selection committee.

After the dumpster-fire of a year that was 2020, it should come as no surprise to anyone with a social media account that the people’s choice for the word of the year was ‘Karen’.

The committee’s choice was ‘doomscrolling’.

Both paint a pretty bleak picture of the last 12 months.

Bleaker still is the fact that so many new words emerged in 2020, they decided to create a second category for the COVID word of the year, which in its inaugural year was COVIDIOT.

The committee and the people both voted for the same word in 2015: ‘Captain’s Call’

The candidates

The candidates for the word of the decade were comprised of past winners from the people’s choice category and the committee’s choice, as well as contenders from 2020’s COVID word of the year.

  • Burkini
  • Cancel culture
  • Captain’s call
  • COVIDIOT
  • Doomscrolling
  • Fake news
  • First World problem
  • Fracking
  • Framily
  • Halal snack pack
  • Infovore
  • Karen
  • Mansplain
  • Me Too
  • Milkshake duck
  • Onesie
  • Robodebt
  • Rona
  • Share Plate
  • Single-use

Many words will be familiar and remainrelevant in 2021, like mansplain and cancel culture.

But others have slipped by the wayside before they managed to solidify their status in our everyday vernacular (Milkshake duck? Infovore?)

If some of these words look totally foreign, or if you just haven’t kept up with the times, you can always look through Macquarie’s list of definitions to jog your memory.

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