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factoid (FAK-toid) noun

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 constant repetition.

"This sort of thing is infuriating to practicing historians who can tell fact from factoid, without, in a deep way, being able to explain why." A New Philosophy of History, The Economist, 11 Nov 1995.

"Real-life factoid: Estes is married to Bissett, who'll be leaving Melrose at midseason to have a baby." Bruce Fretts, et al., Television: The Week, Entertainment Weekly, 6 Sep 1996.

This week's theme: words often used in a sense different from their established definitions.


My idea of education is to unsettle the minds of the young and inflame their intellects. -Robert Maynard Hutchins

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