The Word of the Year, according to Collins, the dictionary publisher, is fake news (ok, it's two words, but that's the problem with the word word). Collins' website notes that the association of the word fake with news was initiated by comedians, but then, after 2005, the expression fake news began to be used when talking about fake news stories that were circulated with the intent to deceive, rather than for comedic purposes. The term fake news has seen a 365% of usage over 2017.
Collins chose the word fake news from a short list of ten words. On the list were also:
echo chamber: an environment, especially on a social media site, in which any statement of opinion is likely to be greeted with approval because it will only be read or heard by people who hold similar views
cuffing season: the period of autumn and winter, when single people are considered likely to seek settled relationships rather than engage in casual affairs
gig economy: an economy in which there are few permanent employees and most jobs are assigned to temporary or freelance workers
antifa: (1) a antifascist organization (2) a member of a antifascist organization adjective: (3) involving, belonging to, or relating to a antifascist organisation
Corbynmania: fervent enthusiasm for Jeremy Corbyn, the leader of the UK Labour Party
fidget spinner: a small toy comprising two or three prongs arranged around a central bearing, designed to be spun by the fingers as means of improving concentration or relieving stress
gender-fluid: not identifying exclusively with one gender rather than another
Insta: of or relating to the photo-sharing application Instagram
Unicorn is also on the list. Obviously that word was already in the dictionary, but a new sense has been added: 'a recently launched business enterprise that is valued at more than one billion dollars'. Collins included the new sense because the creature has been frequently used this year as a branding tool, often decorated in glitter and pastel shades. Phrases using the term unicorn include unicorn toast (bread covered in cream cheese jazzed up by psychedelic food colouring and hundreds and thousands), a unicorn body scrub, and a unicorn frappuccino. Collins conjectures that the success of the unicorn as a symbol may be due to the creature’s appeal to younger female consumers who are attracted to a reassuring childhood image in a world increasingly marked by conflict and division.
And why the word cuffing in cuffing season? It's an allusion to single people subjecting themselves to the metaphorical handcuffs of a monogamous relationship.