The dictionary had to tell Trump he didn't invent the word fake

Greg Evans
Tuesday 10 October 2017 14:00
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Picture:(Ron Sachs - Pool/Getty Images)

United States President Donald Trump likes to make some bold claims - many of which aren't true.

Such as the time he claimed to own a winery in Charleston, instead of condemning White Supremacists.

Or when he claimed to be the best person to ever use Twitter.

How about the size of his not-so-big penthouse?

Maybe his most outlandish claim to date came just a few days ago.

Now, we all know that the POTUS likes to throw the term "fake news" around which is probably what he was referring to here.

But to claim he invented the word is just preposterous.

Trump began using "fake news" during the 2016 Presidential campaign to dismiss any accusations or stories that placed him in a bad light.

He has continued to use it since entering the White House in November but we've got bad news for you Donald.

According to Merriam-Webster, a world renowned publisher of dictionaries, fake news has been around a lot longer than Trump, or anyone else in fact.

Within their article, they cite three different instances where the term fake news was spread by the media of the 19th century.

Twice in 1890 and once in 1891.

They are as follows:

Secretary Brunnell Declares Fake News About His People is Being Telegraphed Over the Country.

Cincinnati Commercial Tribune (Concinnati, OH), 7 Jun. 1890

Fake News. The following is handed to us for publication: Sunday’s Enterprise says that I and a companion were run over by the Neptune and thrown into the water. As can be proved by more than one, we did not so much as get our feet wet, nor were we helped into the Neptune. Clarence Collins.

The Kearney Daily Hub (Kearney, NE), 7 Jul. 1890

The public taste is not really vitiated and it does not in its desire for ‘news’ absolutely crave for distortions of facts and enlargements of incidents; and it certainly has no genuine appetite for ‘fake news’ and ‘special fiend’ decoctions such as were served up by a local syndicate a year or two ago.

The Buffalo Commercial (Buffalo, NY), 2 May 1891

It doesn't end there either.

'Fake news' as a term is just over a century old but fake news as a concept has been around a lot long than that.

Prior to this, people preferred to use the words "false news" when the felt that newspapers were telling lies.

Staggeringly, this goes all the way back to the 16 century as this example shows:

Other things are in this Court at a good price, or to say it better, very good cheap: that is to wit, cruel lies, false news, vnhonest women, fayned friendship, continuall enimities, doubled malice, vaine words, and false hopes, of whiche eight things we haue suche abundance in this Courte, that they may set out bouthes, and proclayme faires. - Antonio de Guervara, The Familar Epistles of Sir Anthony of Guevara (trans. By Edward Hellowes), 1575.

To rub it in a little further, Merriam-Webster confirmed that they would not be entering "fake news" into the dictionary as it is just two words strung together, to great something with a far greater meaning.

So, unless Donald Trump has been roaming the Earth for centuries and this is all an elaborate fantasy tale, there is no way that he invented "fake news."

Good job lexicographers.

HT AV Club

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