Regular(12/4) – ‘Authentic’ Is Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Year for 2023

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1. The Merriam-Webster word of the year for 2023 is “authentic.” Authentic cuisine. Authentic voice. Authentic self. Lookups for the word are routinely heavy on the dictionary company’s site but were boosted to new heights throughout the year, editor at large Peter Sokolowski told The Associated Press.

2. “We see in 2023 a kind of crisis of authenticity,” he said before the announcement of this year’s word on November 27. “What we realize is that when we question authenticity, we value it even more.”

3. Sokolowski said that this year interest in the word authentic did not increase suddenly at any particular time, but that the word was a constant object of interest.

What do you think qualifies to be a word of the year, what are the required characteristics of the word to be eligible?

4. This was the year of artificial intelligence, and also of a moment when ChatGPT-maker OpenAI suffered a leadership crisis. Taylor Swift and Prince Harry chased after authenticity in their words and deeds. Elon Musk, at February’s World Government Summit in Dubai, urged the heads of companies, politicians, ministers and other leaders to “speak authentically” on social media by running their own accounts.

5. “Can we trust whether a student wrote this paper? Can we trust whether a politician made this statement? We don’t always trust what we see anymore,” Sokolowski said. “We sometimes don’t believe our own eyes or our own ears. We are now recognizing that authenticity is a performance itself.”

Can you think of any words that have become popular in your language in 2023?

6. Merriam-Webster’s entry for “authentic” provides several definitions. There is “not false or imitation: real, actual.” There’s “true to one’s own personality, spirit or character.” There’s “worthy of acceptance or belief as conforming to or based on fact.” There is “made or done the same way as an original.” And there’s “conforming to an original so as to reproduce essential features.”

7. This year is Merriam-Webster’s 20th anniversary of choosing a top word. Last year’s choice was “gaslighting.” Other words that also attracted unusual traffic this year include “X” (lookups increased in July after Musk’s rebranding of Twitter) and Elemental, the title of a new Pixar film that had lookups jumping in June.

(1)If you were to choose a word to represent 2023, which would it be?

(2)How many of the last 10 years words of the year can you explain? –