Merriam-Webster Gets In On The ‘Alternative Facts’ Fun

Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway speaks to members of the press in the lobby of Trump Tower Donald Trump transition meetings, New York, USA - 15 Dec 2016 (Rex Features via AP Images)
Start your day with TPM.
Sign up for the Morning Memo newsletter

After top Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway coined the phrase “alternative facts” on Sunday, Merriam-Webster decided to weigh in by reminding everybody that some definitions just aren’t that subjective.

In an interview Sunday morning, Conway argued that White House press secretary Sean Spicer wasn’t lying about crowd size at Donald Trump’s inauguration—he was just giving “alternative facts.”

Lookups of the word “fact” spiked after Conway’s impromptu semantic innovation, according to Merriam-Webster, which tweeted its own definition.

In the last year, Merriam-Webster weighed in on Donald Trump’s misspelled tweets, went apocalyptic in honor of the presidential election and summed up 2016 with its word of the year: “surreal.”

Latest Livewire

Notable Replies

  1. The stupid phrasing has probably something to do with her ties to the so- called “Alternative Right.”

    She deserves an alternative punch in the nose.

  2.          Merriam-Webster  

    FAKE dictionary ! …

    Buy our new ’ correct’ version …19.99 … OUT NOW ! —

    " The King Donald John alt-dictionary " … The ONLY words that matter ! –

  3. “Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.” – John Adams

  4. An Alternative Fact…

    is a lie!

  5. You need to work on adverbial placement in English, moi droog. Your English is good in general, so you can feel pleased about that, but even an occasional slip will make native speakers suspicious.

Continue the discussion at

162 more replies


Avatar for playitagainrowlf Avatar for charliee Avatar for mattinpa Avatar for clunkertruck Avatar for teenlaqueefa Avatar for inlabsitrust Avatar for inversion Avatar for chelsea530 Avatar for stradivarius50t3 Avatar for theghostofeustacetilley Avatar for ottnott Avatar for geofu54 Avatar for serendipitoussomnambulist Avatar for dnl Avatar for darrtown Avatar for benthere Avatar for thunderclapnewman Avatar for tena Avatar for antisachetdethe Avatar for rickjones Avatar for tiowally Avatar for dannydorko Avatar for win Avatar for hayduke2017

Continue Discussion
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: