29 Nov 2023

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

8:42 am on 29 November 2023
Authentic word in a dictionary

Merriam-Webster says its dictionary's users are seeking out the meaning of "authentic" as they try to navigate what is real and what is fake. Photo: 123RF

"Authentic" is the word of the year, Merriam-Webster announced Monday, saying users are seeking out its meaning as they try to navigate what is real and what is fake.

The American dictionary said searches for "authentic" - which it defines in part as "not false or imitation" - saw a substantial increase in 2023.

"The rise of AI helped drive interest in the word," said Merriam-Webster editor at large Peter Sokolowski. "The line between 'real' and 'fake' has become increasingly blurred."

While Merriam-Webster's word of 2023 is "authentic," the Cambridge dictionary chose "hallucinate" - in reference to when AI hallucinates and produces false information. And the Collins dictionary's word is "AI" - the abbreviation for artificial intelligence.

Merriam-Webster said that other words that stood out in searches for 2023 included "rizz" - a word driven by internet slang meaning "romantic appeal or charm" as a noun and "to charm or seduce" as a verb; "deepfake" meaning an image or recording that has been altered to misrepresent what someone has said or done; and "coronation" which saw searches rise with the crowning of Britain's King Charles III in May.

- Reuters

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