PRATIE PLACE

Friday, March 25, 2005

Is it a factoid?

My aunt, who worked at Time, Life Inc., used to say that the true story was the one which was entertaining. She was a factoidophile.

From Bartleby.com, a definition of factoid:
  1. A piece of unverified or inaccurate information that is presented in the press as factual, often as part of a publicity effort, and that is then accepted as true because of frequent repetition.
  2. A brief, somewhat interesting fact.
USAGE NOTE: The –oid suffix normally imparts the meaning “resembling, having the appearance of” to the words it attaches to. ... In some words –oid has a slightly extended meaning—“having characteristics of, but not the same as,” as in humanoid, a being that has human characteristics but is not really human.

Similarly, factoid originally referred to a piece of information that appears to be reliable or accurate, as from being repeated so often that people assume it is true.

Factoid has since developed a second meaning, that of a brief, somewhat interesting fact, that might better have been called a factette. ... Many Panelists prefer terms such as statistics, trivia, useless facts, and just plain facts in this sentence.


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2 Comments:

At 5:30 PM, Blogger an orange said...

I realized one day that I was a much bigger fan of nonfiction than of fiction. I never got into learning random little facts, though.

 
At 6:14 PM, Blogger Miguel said...

"i'd like to teach the world to sing in perfect harmony..."

and they say unbridled commercialization doesn't ring true...

 

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