'Alternative Facts' Leads Yale's 2017 Most Notable Quotations List

Dec 12, 2017

The use of the term "alternative facts" by Kellyanne Conway, an adviser to President Donald Trump, tops a Yale Law School Librarian Fred Shapiro's list of the most notable quotes of 2017.

Shapiro, the author of the Yale Book of Quotations, says, “This quote represents the fact that there are different attitudes now toward truth and accuracy, that some people think that truth is something that they can define and they can create. Others believe that there’s objective truth that can be documented and researched.”

Shapiro says he had to limit the number of Trump-related quotes to avoid having the list completely overwhelmed by them.

“As far as the quotations of the year, I have three criteria: famousness, importance, and does the quote capture the zeitgeist? Does it represent important trends in our time?”

Another quote featured is: "And the Academy Award ... for Best Picture ... La La Land."  

Faye Dunaway mistakenly read the wrong winner for Best Picture in an envelope mix-up at the Academy Awards in February.

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

The Full List as reported by AP:

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, spokeswoman 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.

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.