2023 Word Of The Year

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“Authentic” is the word of the year for 2023

Merriam-Webster’s word of the year for 2023 is one that saw an increase in searches this year – in a world where it’s sometimes hard to tell what is fake and what is real online. The word they chose for 2023 is “authentic”

Authentic” isn’t a new, trendy word like “rizz,” which was also considered for word of the year. Merriam-Webster said “authentic” has a high volume of look-ups most years, but it saw a substantial increase in 2023.

The dictionary says stories about things like AI and social media drove people to look up the word, which it defines as: “not false or imitation” and “true to one’s own personality, spirit, or character” and a synonym of “real” and “actual.”

Deepfakes – images and videos that appear real but are generated by AI – made headlines this year and AI technology like ChatGPT became popular for everything from generating responses to emails to writing college papers. So, authenticity was top of mind.

Merriam-Webster also considered “deepfake” for the word of the year.

“Rizz,” thought to come from the word “charismatic,” was added to the dictionary this year and was also considered for word of the year. The word became popularized on social media platforms like TikTok, but Kai Cenat, a YouTuber credited with creating the word, said it means “game” – or being suave – and his friend group came up with it.

Many of the words considered for the title derive from news events that captivated us in 2023, such as “coronation.” The word was used often this year as King Charles III was officially crowned monarch of the United Kingdom. “Coronation” is a synonym of crowning.

Charles’ mother, Britain’s longest-serving monarch Queen Elizabeth II, died in September 2022, and while Charles became king upon her death, the official ceremony took place in May, causing look-ups of the term “coronation” to spike.

A series of world events also caused another term to spike: “dystopian.” When wildfire smoke from Canada traveled to the East Coast and other parts of the U.S., turning the sky a hazy orange and making city streets look martian, many described the eerie scene as “dystopian” – “of, relating to, or being an imagined world or society in which people lead dehumanized, fearful lives,” according to the dictionary.

A more fun word that almost got word of the year is “EGOT,” which is really an acronym for Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony – four very difficult entertainment awards to earn, and yet, some people have earned all four. Viola Davis completed her EGOT in February when she won a Grammy, causing the term to spike in look-ups.

Two major events of 2023 also led to increased look-ups of two words: “implode” and “indict.”

A submersible traveling to the Titanic wreckage with five people onboard disappeared in June and was soon determined to have imploded – bursting inward.

And former President Donald Trump was indicted in four separate cases, causing more interest in the meaning of that word, which is: “to charge with a crime by the finding or presentment of a jury (such as a grand jury) in due form of law,” according to the dictionary.

Some other words on the shortlist for word of the year: X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, which attracted controversy and attention after Elon Musk fully acquired it. And “elemental,” meaning “any of the four substances air, water, fire and earth formerly believed to compose the physical universe,” which was made popular by the Disney movie by the same name.

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Posted in Blog, English, News, Vocabulary & Spelling.