TAMPA, Fla. (WTSP) – As the phrase “alternative facts” spread across social media Sunday, people all over the world weighed in on what the term meant to them. Meanwhile, searches for the definition of the word "fact” spiked on Merriam-Webster's website.

“There are no alternative facts. A fact is something that is verifiably, objectively true,” said defense attorney Tony Candela. “When you start talking about things that didn’t happen or, what’s been quoted as ‘alternative facts’, you get into a situation where people begin to tune you out.”

“You have to deal with bad facts or uncomfortable facts, and you don’t get to re-write them,” added Candela. “Your better trail attorneys, when they are dealing with facts that are bad for them, deal with them in such a way that they put a nice shine on them, but they can’t change them.”

"I teach my students that facts are important. In fact, they're sacred,” said Jeff Neely, and Assistant Professor of Journalism at the University of Tampa. "We can't have alternative facts, we can have alternative opinions but facts are facts."

“To disagree on verifiable facts is a dangerous position for us as a country, I think,” Neely said. “If that’s the case, the whole business of journalism, the whole business of communicating factual information to the public, goes out the window.”