The votes are in, assuming that someone over at Merriam-Webster, the dictionary people, actually voted on the 2023 Word of the Year.
If your boss gave you the assignment of choosing the 2023 word of the year, which one would you choose? Where would you even begin? Merriam-Webster was up to the task and announced this week its pick.
The Washington Post described the dictionary’s word of the year this way: “an honor bestowed upon a single word which has emerged as much both popular and sought after.”
Merriam-Webster said its pick is a “high-volume lookup most years,” but said it saw “a substantial increase in 2023.” Stories and conversations about AI, celebrity culture, identity, and social media fueled that increase.
Ready for it? The 2023 word of the year…(drumroll, please)…is authentic.
The Online Etymology Dictionary tells us the word entered the English language in the mid-14th century. But even though it has been around for a long time, it’s still a topic of discussion, as Merriam-Webster says:
Authentic has a number of meanings including “not false or imitation,” a synonym of real and actual; 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—two reasons it sends many people to the dictionary.
It points out the line between “real” and “fake” has become “increasingly blurred” thanks to artificial intelligence and many other factors.
People want authenticity. I suspect that even if we don’t like what we see when we get it, we’d rather know what the truth is.
Even for bloggers, authenticity is one of the top traits a good blogger should have.
While it’s sad that there are so many ways people can be inauthentic, there’s at least a glimmer of hope here. I think the fact that there’s an increase in lookups for the word suggests that it’s still a quality people demand.
As long as there’s that hunger for what is authentic, maybe we’re not as bad off as it sometimes seems!
Congratulations to the 2023 word of the year!