Truthiness reaches the Australian capital

Pauline Bryant pauline.bryant at ANU.EDU.AU
Sun Feb 5 11:01:16 UTC 2006

In Saturday's Canberra Times, in Laurie Barber's "My Word" column, he
wrote about Merriam-Webster's list of the most looked-up words of 2005
-- integrity, refugee, contempt, etc. Then in his last paragraph he

"Another American group, the American Dialect Society, made a more
subjective choice with its words and decided its word of the year was
"truthiness", something that has not as yet made its mark in the
Australian context. The society defines truthiness as "the quality of
stating concepts or facts one wishes or believes to be true, rather than
the concepts or facts known to be true".

Truthiness does in fact exist in Australia, especially here in the
national capital, it's just that we haven't had a word for it that we
can use in the political sphere. But it's obvious we need one -- when I
talked about truthiness (and mentioned ADS, of course) on ABC Radio (the
national, government-funded, broadcaster) last week it was obvious from
listener response that the need is recognised. The Australian term
"bullshit" pretty well covers the concept, however, though it is not
confined to politics as "truthiness" apparently is.

Pauline Bryant

Dr Pauline Bryant
Visiting Fellow
School of Language Studies
Building 110
Australian National University
Canberra  ACT  0200

Issues Editor: Current Issues in Language Planning <>

The American Dialect Society -

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