“Infodemic” Declared English-language Word by the Global Language Monitor

One of the Fastest Words Ever to be Recognized in Global English

March 3, 2020, Austin, Texas — Infodemic has been accepted as an official English-Language word by the Global Language Monitor (GLM), the US-based data research firm. This is among the fastest a word has ever met the minimum criteria for ‘wordhood,’ about six weeks from the first recorded citation.

The prestigious British medical journal, The Lancet, commented a few days ago: “A global epidemic of misinformation - spreading rapidly through social media platforms and other outlets - poses a serious problem for public health.

According to the MIT Technology Review, “The coronavirus is the first true social-media “infodemic” [where] Social media has zipped information and misinformation around the world at unprecedented speeds, fueling panic, racism … and hope”.

Infodemic has met all requirements to be considered an English-language word — ready to takes its place among the million-or-so others of the fourteen-hundred-year-old language,” said Paul JJ Payack, GLM’s President and Chief Word Analyst.

To be considered an official English-language, the neologism must satisfy all three criteria:

  • Geographic distribution — The word must appear across political entities and geographic regions.
  • Diversity of Media — The word must appear in a variety of media, including print and electronic media, online and social media, and books and magazines.
  • A minimum number of citations: 25,000.

At the Munich Security Conference on February 15, the WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus pronounced, “We’re not just fighting an epidemic; we’re fighting an infodemic”. Within a few weeks, market data provider Refinitiv included the word in research reports and then was repeated in various media outlets, including the South China Morning Post.

A quick search on Goole now provides nearly 700,000 entries.

Infodemic is a ‘portmanteau’ neologism. First used by Lewis Carroll in 1871, a linguistic blend of words or phonemes (sounds) are combined into a new word, in this case, Information and epidemic, Such words can be easier to pronounce and understand than other types of new word creation.

About Global Language Monitor

Based in Austin, Texas, the Global Language Monitor collectively documents, analyzes and tracks trends in language usage worldwide, with a particular emphasis upon the English language. The company is known for its Word of the Year, To Global Fashion Capitals, political analysis, college and university rankings, high-tech buzzwords, and media analytics.

For more information, visit Languagemonitor.com, email info@languagemonitor.com or call +1.737.215.7750.