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'Authentic' named word of the year by Merriam-Webster

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The word "authentic" has been chosen as Merriam-Webster's Word of the Year for 2023.

America's oldest dictionary said it had reported a "substantial increase" in online searches for it this year.

This interest stemmed from discussions and narratives surrounding artificial intelligence (AI), celebrity culture, identity, and social media, the dictionary publisher said.

READ: AI named word of the year by Collins Dictionary

Merriam-Webster said the word "authentic" means "real," "actual," "not false or imitation," and also "true to one’s own personality, spirit, or character."

"Although clearly a desirable quality, 'authentic' is hard to define and subject to debate," it said.


The publisher noted that the word became more popular in 2023 as "the line between 'real' and 'fake'" became increasingly blurred following the rise of AI, impacting deepfake videos and academic honesty, among other issues.

Merriam-Webster also noted that celebrities such as Taylor Swift, Sam Smith, and Lainey Wilson garnered attention this year for statements about discovering their "authentic voice" and "authentic self."

Social media influencers have also urged more people to be "authentic," contributing to the word's popularity, the publisher noted.

Other popular words

Merriam-Webster also revealed words that stood out in the dictionary's 2023 data, namely:

  • "rizz" - used to describe romantic appeal or charm
  • deepfake - defined as an image or recording that has been convincingly altered and manipulated to misrepresent someone as doing or saying something that was not actually done or said
  • coronation - refers to the literal act of placing a crown on a monarch's head, a synonym of "crowning"
  • dystopian - used to describe a dark potential future that typifies the imagined world or society
  • EGOT - referring to a remarkable feat of winning four particular awards, namely, the Emmy, the Grammy, the Oscar, and the Tony (made up of the first letters of each award)
  • implode - used to describe something that implodes bursts inward or undergoes violent compression
  • doppelgänger - refers to a living person that closely resembles another living person — that is, a double; or it can refer to the opposite side of one’s personality

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