The Guardian: “Online resource picked the word over ‘disinformation’ where other dictionaries had opted for ‘toxic’ and ‘single-use.’ “Misinformation”, as opposed to disinformation, is Dictionary.com’s word of the year. It followed “toxic”, picked for the same honor by Oxford Dictionaries, and “single-use”, picked by Collins. Jane Solomon, a linguist-in-residence at Dictionary.com, said the choice of “mis” over “dis” was deliberate, intended to serve as a “call to action” to be vigilant in the battle against fake news, flat earthers and anti-vaxxers, among other conduits. The Oakland-based company wanted to highlight the idea of intent to mislead, and that misinformation can be spread unwittingly.
“The rampant spread of misinformation is really providing new challenges for navigating life in 2018,” Solomon said. “Misinformation has been around for a long time, but over the last decade or so the rise of social media has really, really changed how information is shared. We believe that understanding the concept of misinformation is vital to identifying misinformation as we encounter it in the wild, and that could ultimately help curb its impact.” In studying lookups on the site, Dictionary noticed “our relationship with truth is something that came up again and again”, Solomon said. For example, the word “mainstream” spiked in January as the term “mainstream media”, or MSM, grew to gargantuan proportions, wielded as an insult on the political right. There was a surge in February for “white lie”, after Hope Hicks, then White House communications director, admitted to telling a few for Donald Trump…”