I'm looking for words to describe an utter absurdity competitively proclaimed as an obvious truth.

Something Orwell "1984"-ish (like "We have always been at war with Eurasia", but that's too long), or with a Gilliam "Brazil" ring, or, preferably, something from dystopian Soviet times, something more powerful than "The Emperor's New Clothes."

But "The Emperor's New Clothes" may be useful to describe what I mean.

Imagine that in the society of the naked Emperor, people compete with each other to show their loyalty to the Emperor, and thereby become successful in that society, by expounding on the absurdity, professing their deep commitment to the absurdity, such as proclaiming how wonderful the Emperor's tunic is, how exquisite the woven material, how it must have been carefully woven by the most talented artisans, etc.

"Orwellian" is too broad.

"Doublethink" doesn't seem to fit.

"Pravda-esque." I like the Soviet angle, but still seems a bit off.

  • I bet you there's some German word that will fit the bill.
    – Tucker
    Nov 29, 2016 at 17:01
  • 'propaganda' is often used for communication presented as truth, but directed towards what is desired, and may or may not have any connection with reality (i.e. bullshit). Another word that fits is just plain 'absurdity'. Depends on the context of the situation/sentence.
    – Mitch
    Nov 29, 2016 at 17:22
  • Well, certainly "Trumpism" or something similar will eventually be adopted by OD.
    – Hot Licks
    Nov 29, 2016 at 19:15
  • Let's see: Birtheresque, denialism, antivaxism.
    – Hot Licks
    Jan 17, 2017 at 4:53

2 Answers 2


Perhaps groupthink works.


groupthink: a pattern of thought characterized by self-deception, forced manufacture of consent, and conformity to group values and ethics

The first paragraph from Wikipedia on groupthink:

Groupthink is a psychological phenomenon that occurs within a group of people in which the desire for harmony or conformity in the group results in an irrational or dysfunctional decision-making outcome. Group members try to minimize conflict and reach a consensus decision without critical evaluation of alternative viewpoints by actively suppressing dissenting viewpoints, and by isolating themselves from outside influences.

Note the differences between groupthink and doublethink. From M-W:

doublethink: a simultaneous belief in two contradictory ideas

The first paragraph from Wikipedia on doublethink:

Doublethink is the act of simultaneously accepting two mutually contradictory beliefs as correct, often in distinct social contexts. Doublethink is related to, but differs from, hypocrisy and neutrality. Also related is cognitive dissonance, in which contradictory beliefs cause conflict in one's mind. Doublethink is notable due to a lack of cognitive dissonance — thus the person is completely unaware of any conflict or contradiction.


Consider indoctrinated [OXD]

Teach (a person or group) to accept a set of beliefs uncritically.

or brainwashed [OXD]

Make (someone) adopt radically different beliefs by using systematic and often forcible pressure.

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