Home ยป Authentic: Merriam-Webster’s word of the year

Authentic: Merriam-Webster’s word of the year

Merriam-Webster has picked its word of the year – and it’s legit.

“Authentic” is the top word of 2023, according to America’s oldest dictionary.

Merriam-Webster said it saw a “substantial increase” in online searches for it this year.

The interest was “driven by stories and conversations about AI [artificial intelligence], celebrity culture, identity, and social media”, the dictionary publisher said.

One reason many people search for the word is because it has a number of meanings, including “not false or imitation” and also “true to one’s own personality, spirit, or character”.

“Although clearly a desirable quality, ‘authentic’ is hard to define and subject to debate,” Merriam-Webster said.

The publisher added that the popularity of the word, which had been highly searched in the US in the past, grew this year as “the line between ‘real’ and ‘fake'” became increasingly blurred.

The AI boom helped with the blurring, spurring interest in the authenticity of text, images and videos, the company said.

One of the runner-ups for the top was “deepfake”, used to describe videos and photos that are digitally altered with AI.

Meanwhile, brands, social media influencers and celebrities also popularised the word, including Elon Musk, the owner of X, formerly Twitter, who has said people should be more “authentic” on social media.

Other top words from 2023 include the internet slang “rizz” – short for charisma, meaning romantic appeal or charm – and “indict”, which saw a surge in interest after former President Donald Trump was indicted, or charged, in four separate legal cases.

The top words in the US were not immune to British influence. Coronation was also highly searched after Charles III was crowned the new king in May.

In 2022, the word of the year was “gaslighting”, a colloquial term for manipulating somebody to cause them to question their own realities or beliefs.

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