Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Year 2023: Authentic

         

The Merriam-Webster word of the year for 2023 is ‘authentic’ in an era of deepfakes, post-truth, and artificial intelligence, reflecting a crisis of authenticity and the value we place on it. Lookups for the word have soared, and the company’s data crunchers attribute the heightened interest to world events and societal developments.

Crisis of Authenticity

Merriam-Webster’s word of the year for 2023 is ‘authentic,’ reflecting a crisis of authenticity in the age of deepfakes, post-truth, and artificial intelligence. The editor at large, Peter Sokolowski, highlights that questioning authenticity has led to an increased value placed on it.

Heightened Interest

Sokolowski and his team noted that lookups for ‘authentic’ have significantly increased throughout the year, with no particular huge boost at any given time, but rather a constant interest in the word. They attribute this to world events and societal developments, rather than delving into specific reasons.

Meaning of ‘Authentic’

Merriam-Webster’s entry for ‘authentic’ encompasses various meanings, from ‘not false or imitation’ to being ‘true to one’s own personality, spirit, or character.’ The word follows 2022’s choice of ‘gaslighting,’ marking the company’s 20th anniversary of selecting a top word.

Other Top Words of 2023

In addition to ‘authentic,’ Merriam-Webster’s runners-up for word of the year include ‘X,’ ‘EGOT,’ ‘Elemental,’ ‘RIZZ,’ ‘KIBBUTZ,’ ‘IMPLODE,’ ‘DEADNAME,’ ‘DOPPELGANGER,’ ‘CORONATION,’ ‘DEEPFAKE,’ ‘DYSTOPIAN,’ and ‘COVENANT.’ Each word has been linked to significant events, cultural interests, or societal shifts in 2023.

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