The Grammarphobia Blog

Fauxtography

Q: In an essay on the “reality” of visual images, the filmmaker Errol Morris uses the word “fauxtograph” to describe a picture that has been doctored. He says the web designer Charles Johnson, who runs the blog Little Green Footballs, originated the term. It’s a keeper, don’t you think?

A: I love It. I predict that “fauxtography” will stay in the language (or it should, if the English-speaking public has any sense).

This neologism – or new word (from the Greek roots for “new” and “word”) – has already made a good start, with 150,000 hits on Google. Seems like the real thing!

Neither “fauxtograph” nor “fauxtography” has made it into any of the dictionaries I usually consult, but “fauxtography” and “fauxtographer” are in Merriam-Webster’s Open Dictionary, an online list of proposed entries submitted by readers.

The word “fauxtography” is defined as photography “that has been digitally manipulated to achieve a specific editorial impact.”

And a “fauxtographer” is described as someone “who takes digital images and manipulates them in a way as to appear real.”

In other words, a fauxny.

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