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Friday, April 19, 2024

Discovering the Word of the Year: Merriam-Webster’s 2023 Pick Unveiled – Stay True to Your Identity


New York​ – In an age of deepfakes and​ post-truth⁤ as ‍artificial ​intelligence rose and Elon Musk turned Twitter into ​X the Merriam-Webster word of the year for 2023 is “authentic.” Authentic ‌cuisine.⁤ Authentic ⁢voice.⁤ Authentic self.‌ Authenticity as artifice. 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 in an exclusive interview. “We⁢ see in 2023 a kind of crisis of authenticity,” he said ahead of​ Monday’s announcement of this year’s word. “What we‌ realize is that​ when we question authenticity, we value it even more.” This was the year of artificial intelligence, for sure, but also a moment when ChatGPT-maker OpenAI suffered a leadership crisis. Taylor​ Swift and‍ Prince ⁣Harry chased after authenticity in their words and deeds. Musk himself, 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.‌ “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.”⁢ Merriam-Webster’s entry for “authentic” is busy with meaning. There’s “not false or imitation: real, actual,” as in‌ an authentic cockney accent. ⁣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’s‍ “made or done ⁣the same way as an original.” And, perhaps the most​ telling, ‌there’s “conforming‌ to an original so⁤ as​ to reproduce⁤ essential features.” The ‌company’s data crunchers filter out evergreen words ‌like “love” ​and “affect” vs. “effect” that are always ​high in lookups among the 500,000 words⁤ it defines online. This year, ⁣the wordsmiths also filtered⁤ out numerous ​five-letter words⁣ because Wordle and⁢ Quordle players clearly ⁤use the company’s site ‌in search⁢ of them as they play the daily games, Sokolowski said. Sokolowski, a lexicologist, and his colleagues have a bevy ​of runners-up for ⁤word ⁢of the ‍year⁣ that also ‍attracted unusual traffic. They include “X” (lookups ⁤spiked in July after Musk’s rebranding of ‌Twitter), “EGOT” (there was a boost⁤ in February when ⁢Viola‌ Davis achieved ⁢that rare quadruple-award status ⁢with a Grammy) and “Elemental,” the title of‍ a new Pixar film that ‌had lookups jumping ‍in ⁤June. Rounding⁤ out the company’s top​ words⁣ of 2023, in no particular order: ‌rnrn ⁣RIZZ: It’s slang for “romantic appeal ‍or charm” and seemingly short for charisma. Merriam-Webster added the word to its online dictionary in September and it’s been among the top lookups since, Sokolowski ⁢said. rnrn ⁤KIBBUTZ: There⁢ was a massive spike in ⁤lookups for ⁤”a communal farm or settlement in ⁣Israel” ⁣after Hamas militants attacked ​several near the Gaza Strip ‍on Oct. 7. The first ‍kibbutz was founded circa 1909 in what is today Israel. rnrn IMPLODE: The June 18 ​implosion of the Titan⁣ submersible on a commercial expedition to ​explore the‍ Titanic ⁢wreckage sent lookups‍ soaring for this word, meaning “to burst inward.” ⁤”It was a story that completely occupied the world,” Sokolowski said.‌ rnrn ​DEADNAME: Interest was high in what‍ Merriam-Webster defines as ⁣”the name that a transgender person was given at ‍birth ⁣and no longer​ uses upon transitioning.” Lookups followed an ​onslaught of legislation aimed at ​curtailing LGBTQ+ rights‌ around the country. rnrn DOPPEL​GANGER: Sokolowski calls this “a word lover’s word.” Merriam-Webster⁢ defines‌ it as ​a ‌”double,” an “alter ego” or a ‌”ghostly counterpart.” It derives from German folklore. Interest in the⁣ word surrounded Naomi Klein’s latest book, “Doppelganger: A ‍Trip Into the ​Mirror‍ World,” released this year.She uses her own experience ‌of often being confused with feminist author and conspiracy theorist Naomi Wolf as ⁣a springboard⁣ into a broader narrative ⁢on the crazy times we’re all living ⁤in. rnrn CORONATION:⁤ King⁤ Charles III had one⁤ on May 6, sending lookups for the word soaring 15,681% over the year before, Sokolowski⁣ said. Merriam-Webster ⁣defines it as “the act ‍or occasion of⁢ crowning.” rnrn DEEPFAKE: The dictionary company’s ‌definition is “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.” Interest spiked after Musk’s lawyers in a Tesla lawsuit said he is often the subject of deepfake videos ⁤and again after the likeness of Ryan Reynolds appeared in a fake AI-generated Tesla ad. rnrn DYSTOPIAN: ⁢Climate chaos brought on interest⁣ in the word. So did ‌books,​ movies, and TV fare intended to entertain. “It’s unusual to me to see a word that is‍ used in both contexts,” Sokolowski ‌said. rnrn COVENANT: Lookups for ‍the word meaning “a‍ usually ‌formal,⁢ solemn, and binding agreement” ​swelled on March 27 ⁣after a ‍deadly mass⁢ shooting at The Covenant School⁣ in Nashville, Tennessee. The shooter was a former student killed by police after ‍killing three ⁣students​ and three⁢ adults. rnrn Interest also ‍spiked with this​ year’s release ​of ⁤”Guy Ritchie’s The Covenant” and Abraham Verghese’s long-awaited⁤ new novel, “The Covenant of Water,” which Oprah Winfrey chose as a Book Club‌ pick. rnrn INDICT: Former‍ President Donald Trump has been indicted⁢ on felony charges in ⁤four ⁢criminal cases in New York, Florida,​ Georgia, and Washington, D.C., in addition to⁣ fighting a lawsuit that threatens his real estate empire.

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  1. I completely agree! The word of the year always holds such great significance. It’s interesting to see the common sentiments of society reflected through language. Can’t wait to find out what Merriam-Webster picked this time.

  2. Disagree. The word of the year, while interesting, doesn’t necessarily reflect the feelings of the whole society. It primarily represents the views of those who decide on it. Would be more representative if the public had a say.


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