The people in charge of defining the English language want to remind Kellyanne Conway what the word “fact” means.
Merriam-Webster‘s online dictionary posted a blog on Sunday in response to President Donald Trump’s senior aide defending White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s use of “alternative facts” during his first press briefing.
While the dictionary isn’t sure what an “alternative fact” is, it did clarify what a fact is: “A piece of information presented as having objective reality.” According to Merriam-Webster, searches for the word “spiked dramatically” on Sunday.
Among the “alternative facts” in question was Spicer’s claim that Trump attracted “the largest audience ever to witness an inauguration, period. Both in person and around the globe.” Nielsen ratings and ridership estimates from Washington D.C. public transit officials proved Spicer wrong.
“You’re saying it’s a falsehood, and they’re giving — Sean Spicer, our press secretary, gave alternative facts to that,” Conway said on “Meet The Press”. Host Chuck Todd responded by saying, “Alternative facts are not facts. They are falsehoods.”
Soon, the hashtag #AlternativeFacts was trending on Twitter, and Merriam-Webster contributed to the discussion by posting the dictionary definition of “fact.”
??”?A fact is a piece of information presented as having objective reality. https://t.co/gCKRZZm23c
– Merriam-Webster (@MerriamWebster) January 22, 2017
In other dictionary news, Dictionary.com reported that “carnage” became the most searched word on their website on Friday after Trump promised to bring an end to “American carnage.” Trump’s speech, which clocked in at 1,433 words, was the shortest inauguration speech since Jimmy Carter’s 1,229-word speech in 1977.