Nov 27, 2023 - Politics & Policy

"Authentic" is Merriam-Webster's 2023 Word of the Year

Image: Merriam-Webster via AP

Merriam-Webster's 2023 Word of the Year is "the term for something we're thinking about, writing about, aspiring to, and judging more than ever," the dictionary said in its announcement just after midnight.

Driving the news: "Authentic" saw a substantial increase in online lookups this year, driven by stories and conversations about AI, celebrity culture, identity and social media, the dictionary said.

  • With the rise of AI "and its impact on deepfake videos, actors' contracts, academic honesty, and a vast number of other topics — the line between 'real' and 'fake' has become increasingly blurred," the announcement said.
  • "We see in 2023 a kind of crisis of authenticity," Merriam-Webster lexicographer Peter Sokolowski told AP. "What we realize is that when we question authenticity, we value it even more."

State of play: Some of Merriam-Webster's runners-up included:

  • Rizz: The dictionary said the word is an example of "internet-driven slang." As a noun, it means "romantic appeal or charm." As a verb, it means to it means "to charm or seduce."
  • Deepfake: Similar to authentic, usage around "deepfake" was also driven by the rise of AI. It refers to an image or recording that has been convincingly altered and manipulated to misrepresent someone or something.
  • Coronation: The crowning of a new British monarch — Charles III —caused this term to spike in May.
  • Dystopian: Interest in this term was driven by several different events this year, including eerie wildfire smoke lingering over cities around the world this summer.

Go deeper: All the AI terms you need to know

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