"That's a great deal to make one word mean," Alice said in a thoughtful tone. "When I make a word do a lot of work like that," said Humpty Dumpty, "I always pay it extra."

Monday, 20 June 2011


The term factoid is sometimes used to mean a trivial fact but its correct meaning is "an item of unreliable information that is repeated so often that it becomes accepted as fact" (Oxford English Dictionary ).

A factoid, according to Wikipedia, is a questionable or spurious—unverified, incorrect, or fabricated—statement presented as a fact, but with no veracity. The word can also be used to describe a particularly insignificant or novel fact, in the absence of much relevant context.

Factoid was coined by Norman Mailer in his 1973 biography of Marilyn Monroe. Mailer described a factoid as "facts which have no existence before appearing in a magazine or newspaper", and created the word by combining the word fact and the ending -oid to mean "similar but not the same". The Washington Times described Mailer's new word as referring to "something that looks like a fact, could be a fact, but in fact is not a fact". CNN's Headline News incorporated factoids into its half-hour newscast in the early 1990s under the direction of Jon Petrovich.

Factoids may give rise to, or arise from, common misconceptions and urban legends.

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