n. An article or news story that consists primarily of a thematic list of short items.
Question-and-answer articles are very popular on the Internet, as are list articles, or listicles. There’s "9 Reasons Why The Stock Market Has Been Correcting" (Business Insider); "9 questions about Syria you were too embarrassed to ask" (The Washington Post); "9 Things You Didn’t Know About Netflix" (Huffington Post), etc. BuzzFeed ("9 More Urban Dictionary Definitions You Need To Know") has turned listicles into an entire publishing strategy.
—Paul Farhi, “9 reasons why the news media are so hot for Q&As like this,” The Washington Post, March 13, 2014
"6 TITANIC SURVIVORS WHO SHOULD HAVE DIED." "THESE 9 NAZI ATROCITIES WILL MAKE YOU LOSE FAITH IN HUMANITY." "5 INSANE PLANS FOR FEEDING WEST BERLIN YOU WON’T BELIEVE ARE REAL." These are just some of the lists that the comic strip "XKCD" recently joked would result from retrofitting the twentieth century’s most newsworthy events with modern, Internet-style headlines. Despite the growing derision of listicles exemplified by the comic, numbered lists—a venerable media format—have become one of the most ubiquitous ways to package content on the Web. Why do we find them so appealing?
—Maria Konnikova, “A list of reasons why our brains love lists,” The New Yorker, December 02, 2013
2004 (earliest)
I've always hated lists, and I’ve always hated articles which were nothing but lists; a.k.a. listicles.
—M Kingsley, “To Hell with the Simple Paper Clip” (comment), Observatory, July 15, 2004
Listicle has been on the Word Spy "To Research" list for a while now, so many thanks to reader Alan Bardsley for the virtual elbow jab that convinced me to finally post this by now almost-common word.
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