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

In a world increasingly shaped by technology and shifting societal norms, the desire for authenticity has never been stronger. Merriam-Webster has reflected this heightened interest by declaring “authentic” as its Word of the Year for 2023. The word experienced sustained popularity throughout the year, with searches peaking due to a broader crisis of authenticity.

Authenticity in the Spotlight

This year, authenticity emerged as a key theme in various domains. OpenAI, the creator of ChatGPT, faced a leadership crisis during the age of artificial intelligence. Public figures like Taylor Swift and Prince Harry sought authenticity in their expressions. Elon Musk, at the World Government Summit in Dubai, urged leaders to communicate authentically on social media.

Merriam-Webster’s Definition of Authentic

Merriam-Webster’s definition of “authentic” encompasses various meanings, including being not false or imitation, true to one’s personality, and conforming to an original to reproduce essential features. The choice of “authentic” follows the 2022 selection of “gaslighting,” marking the 20th anniversary of Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Year.

Other Notable Words of 2023

Other notable words that drew increased attention in 2023 include:

  • “X” (spiked after Musk’s Twitter rebranding)
  • “EGOT” (related to Viola Davis achieving quadruple-award status)
  • “Elemental” (linked to a new Pixar film)
  • “RIZZ” (slang for romantic appeal)
  • “KIBBUTZ” (spiked after attacks near Gaza Strip)
  • “IMPLODE” (surged after the Titan submersible implosion)
  • “DEADNAME” (related to transgender identity)

Data-Driven Approach to Word Selection

Merriam-Webster’s data-driven approach filters out common words, ensuring a focus on trending and impactful terms. The Word of the Year, “authentic,” encapsulates a year marked by a constant quest for genuineness in various aspects of life.

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