alternative fact

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Alternative forms[edit]


From alternative and fact.



alternative fact (plural alternative facts)

  1. Used other than with a figurative or idiomatic meaning: see alternative,‎ fact.
  2. (US, law) Any of two or more sets of competing potential facts that explain a given case, circumstance etc.
    • 1991, US Supreme Court, Yates v. Evatt:
      If the presumed fact is not itself necessary for the verdict, but only one of a variety of facts sufficient to prove a necessary element, the reviewing court should identify not only the evidence considered for the fact subject to the presumption, but also the evidence for alternative facts sufficient to prove the element.
    • 2014, Bill Nelson, ‎Amelia Phillips, ‎Christopher Steuart, Guide to Computer Forensics and Investigations, Boston: Cengage Learning 2016, p. 515:
      The expression 'alternative facts' might seem contradictory, but it simply means competing facts. In a civil case, if there weren't alternative possible facts, the case wouldn't be at trial […].
    Synonyms: competing fact
  3. (politics, media) Something presented as a fact for reasons of political expediency; a fiction, a falsehood, a lie.
    • 2014 June 2, Erica Buist, “Seven key facts about the caxirola”, in The Guardian:
      But we do it because we believe in the power of truthful, in-depth reporting, especially in the face of fake news and 'alternative facts.'
    • 2017 February 25, R. E. Guyson Mayers, “A GUY"S VIEW: Season of discontent”, in Barbados Advocate:
      They are creating their own facts, but one need not be in Government to create alternative facts.
    • 2017 March 3, “Private Sydney: Celebrities quick to present their own 'alternative facts'”, in The Sydney Morning Herald:
      According to Donald Trump we live in an era of "fake news" where his "alternative facts" should be swallowed whole, and without scrutiny.
    • 2017 March 3, Chantal Hébert, “It's not just Donald Trump who shifts the truth, Canada's politicians have been using alternative facts for years”, in Toronto Star:
      Prime ministers have not been immune to spreading alternative facts.
    Synonyms: counterknowledge

Usage notes[edit]

The use of this term to mean a politically motivated lie gained prominence after it was used by Kellyanne Conway in January 2017 and widely repeated in the US media.[2][3][4]

Related terms[edit]


Further reading[edit]


  1. ^ 2017 January 22, Reuters, "'Alt-fact': Trump's White House Threatens War on Media Over 'Unfair Attacks'", Haaretz
  2. ^ 2017 January 22, Jason Silverstein, "Kellyanne Conway says White House offers ‘alternative facts’ to media reports", New York Daily News
  3. ^ 2017 January 22, Erik Sherman, "Alternative Facts May Be The End Of Trustworthy Government Data", Forbes Magazine
  4. ^ 2017 January 22, Meet The Press, "Kellyanne Conway: Press Secretary Sean Spicer Gave 'Alternative Facts'", NBC News
  5. ^ 2017 January 23, Gabriel Hassan, "Vu des États-Unis. Les alarmants “faits alternatifs” du président Trump", Courrier International
  6. ^ 2017 January 23, Peter Seidel, [ das-ganze-repertoire-von-populisten-25597882 "Kommentar zum Trump-Team „Alternative Fakten“ – das ganze Repertoire von Populisten"], Berliner Zeitung
  7. ^ 2017 January 23, Martino Mazzonis, "Non notizie false, ma “fatti alternativi”: benvenuti nell’era dell’informazione versione Trump", Left
  8. ^ 2017 January 23, Cecilia Scaldaferri, "Il team di Trump rivendica la possibilità di raccontare 'fatti alternativi'", Agenzia Giornalistica Italia
  9. ^ 2017 January 23, AP, "Gobierno de Trump es objeto de burlas por “verdad alterna”", Reporte Nivel Uno
  10. ^ 2017 January, Martin Jönsson, "Martin Jönsson: Trumps ”alternativa fakta” lägger grunden för ”Den stora lögnen”",
  11. ^ 2017 January, Susanne Sjöstedt, "Trump är bäst – ingen protest!", allehanda