FACT CHECK: Did Wikipedia Change The Definition Of ‘Definition’?

Elias Atienza | Fact Check Reporter

An image shared on Facebook claims Wikipedia changed the definition of the word “definition.”

Verdict: False

Wikipedia has not changed the definition of the word. The page has not been revised since February and is partially locked from edits until 2025.

Fact Check: 

The Biden administration has faced accusations of attempting to avoid using the word “recession” to describe the current economic situation, according to Voice of America. Wikipedia temporarily suspended edits to its page about recessions following an editing war over how the term is identified or declared, NPR reported.

Now, an image shared on Facebook claims the word “definition” is also being changed. The Facebook image appears to show a screen grab of Wikipedia’s description of the word that reads in part, “A definition is a fluid statement of the meaning of a term (a word, phrase, or other set of symbols).”

“Wikipedia has now changed the definition of the word Definition,” reads the post’s caption. (RELATED: Does AstraZeneca Mean ‘Weapon That Kills’?)

The claim is inaccurate. No such edits are present on the page. The current definition of the word reads, “A definition is a statement of the meaning of a term (a wordphrase, or other set of symbols).”

The page’s history shows that there have not been any revisions since February 2022 and none of the previous revisions appear to be an attempt to fundamentally redefine the word. A lock symbol appears on the top of the page which means the article is “semi-protected” until November 2025, according to the site.

The image shared on Facebook appears to be digitally altered. The footnote numbers in the alleged description are black, not blue like those on all other Wikipedia pages.

This is not the first time a fake Wikipedia entry has been used to spread misinformation online. In 2020, Check Your Fact debunked a fake Wikipedia article that claimed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was introduced in January 2017.

Elias Atienza

Fact Check Reporter
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