Dictionary.com’s newest set of entries to its lexicon, and some revised definitions for existing terms, reflect the politically themed discourse that has dominated the media over the past year. This post shares and defines some of those terms.
Alt-right, discussed in this DailyWritingTips.com post, is not new to Dictionary.com, but its definition has been extended to clarify that the central tenets of those who espouse extreme right wing ideology are white nationalism and anti-Semitism. Similarly, though far is of course not a new listing, its definition now alludes to the sense of extreme political views when it appears in combination with left and right. Meanwhile, the existing entry for alt refers to the abbreviation’s usage in alt-right, and the one for “white nationalism” makes a distinction, based on geopolitical focus, between that phrase and “white supremacy.”
The phrase “fake news” has its own new entry, describing the term as pertaining to sensationalized false journalistic content that serves to boost ad revenue and/or discredit an entity that is the subject of the content. An entry surprising for its late appearance is “false flag,” which has long referred to the use by marine vessels of a flag of a country the ship doesn’t represent in order to deceive personnel on an enemy vessel.
By extension, the term now alludes to events in which a country attacks its own territory or assets and blames the attack on a belligerent nation (or an entity such as a terrorist organization), or to similar operations carried out in civilian contexts, as when a group or individual frames another for a violent act the first group or individual secretly committed in order to discredit the other party.