truthiness

noun

truth·​i·​ness ˈtrü-thē-nəs How to pronounce truthiness (audio)
: a truthful or seemingly truthful quality that is claimed for something not because of supporting facts or evidence but because of a feeling that it is true or a desire for it to be true

Note: The Oxford English Dictionary provides evidence dating to the first half of the 19th century for the use of truthiness as a rare word synonymous with truthfulness. In its current sense, truthiness was coined and popularized by the American satirist Stephen Colbert, who first used it in 2005.

Whether it's blind bias in favor of one's own sports team, an insistence that Republicans rigged the 2004 election, 9/11 conspiracy theories or AIDS skepticism, [Farhad] Manjoo concluded that the feeling that something is true had, for many, become a substitute for actual evidence. It's what Stephen Colbert called "truthiness."S. E. Cupp
Our whole social environment and each of its overlapping parts—cultural, religious, political, intellectual, psychological—have become conducive to spectacular fallacy and truthiness and make-believe.Kurt Andersen

Examples of truthiness in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Bianco’s coronavirus truthiness is surprising. Gustavo Arellano Columnist, Los Angeles Times, 9 Dec. 2020 The uncovering of truth in a post-truth world where truthiness seems to have stepped in for facts. New York Times, 3 Nov. 2022 Then came The Colbert Report, a satire of pundit programs that added truthiness to the national lexicon, a way of critiquing the steady American diet of political falsehoods disguised as facts. Sascha Cohen, The Atlantic, 10 Sep. 2021 Like it or not, human beings are highly susceptible to truthiness: research indicates that 50% of Americans believe in at least one conspiracy theory. Kareem Saleh, Forbes, 4 May 2021 The truthiness only accelerated with the election of Barack Obama, whose very presence in the Oval Office inspired that cosplay revolution dress rehearsal, the Tea Party. Chris Cannon, The New Republic, 14 Jan. 2021 And that opens the door for truthiness with numbers. George Johnson, Discover Magazine, 22 Feb. 2013

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'truthiness.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

2005, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of truthiness was in 2005

Dictionary Entries Near truthiness

Cite this Entry

“Truthiness.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/truthiness. Accessed 26 May. 2024.

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