Fact vs Factoid

By Anupum Pant

Fact is something that’s unquestionably true. A universal truth that can’t be denied. Like, the sun rises from the east.

Factoid, like a duckling, seems to be like a quick fact. It isn’t. It’s important to remember that it is very different from a fact.

A factoid is something that’s repeatedly used wrong at many places. It is a word that is believed to have been coined in the biography of Marilyn Monroe, by Norman Mailer. As the Guardian puts it…

A true factoid should sound credible, and be assumed to be true by a significant number of people (if you are the only person who believes it, it may simply be a delusion). The Washington Times defined a factoid as “something that looks like a fact, could be a fact, but in fact is not a fact”. An example is the belief that the Great Wall of China is visible from the moon, which according to Wikipedia would be possible only if your eyesight were 17,000 times better than 20/20.

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