Truthiness Defined


Truthiness is defined as the state of intuitive truth without regard for logic, evidence, information, or facts. It is an instinctive truth that is felt deep down in the gut. It does not consider facts and has no heart, but it is absolute truth.  

The Origin

The word ‘truthiness’ made its debut on the pilot episode of The Colbert Report last October 17, 2005. This word was unveiled by Stephen Colbert himself, as opposed to claims that it was Benjamin Zimmer who invented the word. According to sources, Colbert came up with truthiness just moments before the airing of his show’s first episode. 


colbertThe WØRD is a trademark of Stephen Colbert. It is a segment of his The Colbert Report, and it was during the July 31, 2006 airing of this segment that Colbert came up with Wikiality. This word is a blendword of ‘Wikipedia’ and ‘reality’ to mean truth by consensus. Colbert praised Wikipedia for its approval-by-consensus format; hence, it follows the philosophy of truthiness.

Since the inception Wikiliaty, it has become one of the best sources of TRUTH and  TRUTHINESS.  To be honest, it has become one of the Internet’s greatest sites.

Growing Popularity


As soon as Colbert introduced ‘truthiness’, it was introduced to the mainstream audience, and grew in popularity. To boot, it has received wide recognition and was frequently featured in several news outlets and websites. The following are just some of the recognition ‘truthiness’ received:

  • Voted as one of the nine words in The New York Times to represent the spirit of 2005
  • Featured as Word of the Week by the Macmillan English Dictionary’s website in January of 2006
  • Featured in CNN’s Reliable Resources barely a week after it was discussed in The Colbert Report
  • Reported on ABC’s Nightline
  • Was used in ESPN’s Around the Horn on November 15, 2006
  • The New York Times featured The Colbert Report and ‘truthiness’ several times during the succeeding months
  • Featured in Newsweek magazine’s February 13, 2006 issue
  • The word ‘truthiness’ was used by Huffington Post’s Arianna Huffington 
  • Oprah acknowledged the word ‘truthiness’ to her vocabulary

In addition to those enumerated above, truthiness was also mentioned in the Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle, Chicago Tribune, USA Today, MSNBC, Editor & Publisher, Chicago Reader, etc. 

Truthiness Awarded Word of the Year

In its growing popularity and the widespread recognition that ‘truthiness’ have received, there is no recognition more satisfying than being recognized as the word of the year by several scholarly associations and dictionaries. 

American Dialect Society

On January 6, 2006, the word ‘truthiness’ was recognized by the American Dialect Society as the Word of the Year for 2005. 


Merriam-Webster on January 6, 2006 voted by ‘truthiness’ as the Word of the Year for 2006. It was up against ‘the google’, and it won by a 5 is to 1 vote margin.  The said dictionary defines truthiness as ‘truth that comes from the gut, not books’.

Other Issues and Controversies


While Colbert received praises for ‘truthiness’, there were also some snubbing and controversial issues involved. For example, although Associated Press reported that ‘truthiness’ was recognized as Word of the Year by the American Dialect Society, the report never mentioned Colbert as being the individual responsible for the word’s rising popularity. 

On another instance, Oprah Winfrey discussed ‘truthiness’ in reference to the James Frey controversy, and Stephen Colbert’s part in popularizing said word. The Chicago Tribune also published an editorial that credit’s the rising popularity of ‘truthiness’ as an accurate description of the controversy involving James Frey’s memoir.

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