Updated Aug 15, 2014 at 12:32PM EDT by Don.

Added Aug 15, 2014 at 12:31PM EDT by Don.

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Listicles are short-form articles and blog posts featuring lists surrounding a specific theme with brief descriptions for each numbered item. The term is a blend of the words “list” and “article.”


The exact origin of the term “listicle” is unknown. One of the earliest definitions of the word was submitted to the site for the public radio program Way With Words[2] on October 8th, 2004.

listicle n. a (newspaper, magazine, web site, etc.) article consisting primarily of a list. Editorial Note: This term is often used in a deprecating way, to describe an article or news story which required very little effort to produce.


On July 9th, 2008, the word was featured in a glossary published by Gawker[1] on July 9th, 2008. On January 15th, 2009, the Listicles Tumblr[6] blog was launched, which posts links to notable list articles on the web.

Listicle: An article broken down into a list. Many writers hate writing them because they make them feel dirty and cheap. However, readers ostensibly “love” lists, and our publisher Denton loves them because they are traffic bait.

On March 9th, 2011, Urban Dictionary[7] user PRwiz101 submitted an entry for “listicle.” On August 12th, 2013, The Guardian[5] published an article titled “5 ways the listicle is changing journalism,” which noted that listicles existed in print journalism prior to their use on websites like BuzzFeed. In January 2014, The University of Chicago Magazine[4] published an article describing why the listicle is popular as a literary form. On August 14th, Oxford Dictionaries[3] officially acknowledged listicle in an update to its online dictionary.

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External References

[1]Gawker – Look We Made You a Gawker Glossary

[2]Way Word Radio – listicle

[3]Oxford Dictionaries – listicle

[4]University of Chicago Magazine – The listicle as a literary form

[5]The Guardian – 5 Ways Listicles are Changing Journalism

[6]Tumblr – Listicles

[7]Urban Dictionary – listicle

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