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Merriam-Webster’s 2023 Word of the Year is ‘Authentic’

Merriam-Webster’s word of the year for 2023 is “authentic,” reflecting the cultural significance and increased search activity for the word. The dictionary’s editor at large, Peter Sokolowski, noted that there has been a crisis of authenticity, leading people to question and value it even more. The word experienced consistent search activity throughout the year, with an increase driven by various factors including discussions about AI, celebrity culture, and identity. The rise of AI and deepfakes has contributed to a blurred line between what is real and what is fake, further emphasizing the significance of authenticity. The dictionary also highlighted phrases such as “authentic self” and “authentic voice” that have been prominent this year, particularly in relation to celebrities seeking to express their true selves. “Authentic” can mean “not false or imitation,” as well as “true to one’s personality, spirit, or character,” making it a desirable quality that is hard to define. The word of the year for 2022 was “gaslighting,” reflecting a 1,740% increase in searches. This year marks the 20th anniversary of Merriam-Webster’s selection of a top word, with “vaccine” being chosen as the word of the year in 2021. Other top searched words and terms for 2023 include “deepfake,” “coronation,” “dystopian,” “EGOT,” and “doppleganger,” among others.

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