Dictionary.com’s Word of the Year

How misinformation influenced 2018

Amanda Swank, Editor-in-Chief

Each year, Dictionary.com chooses a word that they best believe sums up the year as a whole. For this year, 2018, the designated word of the year is “Misinformation”. Let’s take a look at how misinformation transformed 2018.

Disinformation vs Misinformation:

There are two types of false information: misinformation and disinformation. Some use the two terms interchangeably, however this is incorrect.  The difference between the two is intent; misinformation is the spread of false information unintentionally, without malice. Disinformation is the spread of false information on purpose, usually in the form of propaganda.

A piece of disinformation can sometimes morph into a piece of disinformation. For example, if a politician shares false news or propaganda in the form of a info graphic, a meme, or even a news article, that’s misinformation. However, if someone sees this false information, believes it and spreads it, that’s misinformation.

Misinformation in Politics:

Misinformation is prolific, especially from our current presidency. Early in November, the Washington Post counted over 6,42o false or misleading claims made by President Trump since he took office in January. This is especially dangerous, since the presidency is a huge position of power that many look to for the truth and justice.

Misinformation in Social Media:

Social media is a place in which misinformation thrives. On popular platforms its easy to post false information under the guise of truth. Especially on platforms like Facebook where its easy to share and repost information, regardless if its true or not. Speaking of Facebook, this popular social media site has played a huge role in sharing misinformation, whether it be the Cambridge Analytica scandal, or the huge amount of fake political ads being spread across the country.

The Runner-Ups:

Representation: This word was on the list due to the historic amount of people of color and LGBTQ candidates elected during the 2018 midterm elections, and after several box-office hits like Black Panther and Crazy Rich Asians.

Self-Made: This term was looked up by many people after the New York Times published a story about the source of Donald Trump’s wealth, and after Forbes cover story calling Kylie Jenner a “self-made billionaire”.

Backlash: This word is especially powerful, considering the “Me Too” movement provided tons of backlash against the appointment of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court.


To read Dictionary.com’s full article on 2018’s Word of the Year, click the link below: