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YALE LAW SCHOOL LIBRARY

‘Alternative facts’ remark tops 2017 list of notable quotes

/ 07:21 AM December 13, 2017

Kellyanne Conway —AP

NEW HAVEN, Connecticut — The use of the term “alternative facts” by Kellyanne Conway, an adviser to US President Donald Trump, tops a Yale Law School librarian’s list of the most notable quotes of 2017.

The statement that Conway made when asked why Trump’s then Press Secretary Sean Spicer mischaracterized the size of inauguration crowds is one of many Trump-related quotations on the list, assembled by Fred Shapiro, an associate director at the library.

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“I actually had to limit the amount of Trump-related quotations on the list so as not to have the list overwhelmed by him,” Shapiro said.

The yearly list is an update to “The Yale Book of Quotations,” which was first published in 2006.

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Shapiro chooses quotes that are famous or revealing of the spirit of the times, and not necessarily eloquent or admirable.

The list

1. “Sean Spicer, our press secretary, gave alternative facts.”—Kellyanne Conway, interview on NBC “Meet the Press,” Jan. 22.

2. “Alternative facts are not facts, they’re falsehoods.” —Chuck Todd, interview of Kellyanne Conway on “Meet the Press,” Jan. 22.

3. “I just fired the head of the FBI. He was crazy, a real nut job. I faced great pressure because of Russia. That’s taken off.”—Trump, as reported by The New York Times, explaining the firing of James Comey to visiting Russian officials, May 10.

4. “With respect to any women who have made allegations on the record, Mr. Weinstein believes that all of these relationships were consensual.” —Sallie Hofmeister, spokesperson for Harvey Weinstein, Oct. 10.

5. “Make our planet great again.”—Emmanuel Macron, statement on the withdrawal of the United States from the Paris climate agreement, June 1.

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6. “We can’t have the inmates running the prison.”
—Robert McNair, owner of
the Houston Texans football team, describing players protesting the national anthem, as quoted in ESPN The Magazine, Oct. 27.

7. “Yes.”—Elizabeth Warren, responding to Jake Tapper’s question on whether the 2016 Democratic primaries were rigged in favor of Hillary Clinton, in an interview on CNN’s “The Lead,” Nov. 2.

8. “And the Academy Award … for best picture … La La Land.”—Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, mistakenly reading the wrong winner for best picture in an envelope mix-up, Academy Awards ceremony, Feb. 27.

9. “It’s a shame the White House has become an adult day care center.”—Bob Corker, Republican senator from Tennessee, in a tweet, Oct. 8.

10. “There is too much money in the world.”—Lawrence Luhring, art dealer, reacting to the sale of a painting possibly by Leonardo da Vinci for over $450 million, as quoted in The New York Times, Nov. 16.

‘Feminism’

In a related development, Merriam-Webster has announced “feminism” is its word of the year for 2017.

Company lexicographer and editor at large Peter Sokolowski said the word hung in the air throughout the year.

The word “feminism” saw a 70-percent increase in lookups over 2016 on Merriam-Webster.com and experienced a major spike around the Women’s March in January.

Conway’s “I am not a feminist” remarks at the Conservative Political Action Committee gave the word another push.

So did the takedown of Harvey Weinstein.

Merriam-Webster’s decision follows Dictionary.com’s word of the year designation of “complicit,” a word that made the Merriam-Webster short list.

Other runners-up: recuse, empathy, dotard, syzygy, gyro, federalism, hurricane and gaffe.

Wondering about gaffe? It was a go-to for the media after the wrong best picture winner was announced at the Academy Awards.

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TAGS: 2017 notable quotes, alternative fact, Donald Trump, Kellyanne Conway, Sean Spicer, Yale Law School Library
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