Mesofact

A fact or truth or opinion that evolves very slowly, to the point where you don’t notice that it’s changed over a period of time.

This is not a traditional word. I think it was invented about a decade ago, first in this Boston Globe article: Warning: Your reality is out of date

When people think of knowledge, they generally think of two sorts of facts: facts that don’t change, like the height of Mount Everest or the capital of the United States, and facts that fluctuate constantly, like the temperature or the stock market close.

But in between there is a third kind: facts that change slowly. These are facts which we tend to view as fixed, but which shift over the course of a lifetime.

“mesa” is a Greek prefix for “middle,” which is the idea of the word: some things change quickly, some never change, but things in the “meso” change slowly.

I’ve seen the word many times in the 10 years since, so I think it’s achieved some level of adoption.

Some of the mesofacts mentioned in the article and in other places:

Some of these change because they’re naturally fluid (the population question, for example), while other change because new information and research appears and is slowly accepted over time.

Why I Looked It Up

I was reading Han Rosling’s book Factfulness, and he was talking about “The Destiny Gap,” which is when we assume that certain countries are just destined to live and work a certain way. He discussed about how countries change, just very slowly, to the point where we might not have noticed that they have changed at all, and our image of them is outdated. This got me remembering the idea of a mesofact, so I looked it up.

This is item #149 in a sequence of 252 items.

You can use your left/right arrow keys or swipe left/right to navigate