’Authentic' Is Merriam-Webster’s 2023 Word of the Year

The publishing company has seen "a kind of crisis of authenticity" this year.

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As the world continues to turn to artificial intelligence, Merriam-Webster has declared "authentic" the word of 2023. Noting a "substantial increase" in searches, the dictionary publishing company has multiple definitions of the word.

Along with its first definition as “not false or imitation: real, actual,” additional definitions of "authentic" include “true to one's own personality, spirit or character;" “worthy of acceptance or belief as conforming to or based on fact;" “made or done the same way as an original;" and, probably most fitting to the times, “conforming to an original so as to reproduce essential features.”

“We see in 2023 a kind of crisis of authenticity,” Merriam-Webster editor at large Peter Sokolowski told the Associated Press. “What we realize is that when we question authenticity, we value it even more.”

Authenticity has been up for question in light of the gradual A.I. boom, as music from top artists in addition to images and videos of public figures have been digitally altered or created using this technology.

“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 added. “We sometimes don't believe our own eyes or our own ears. We are now recognizing that authenticity is a performance itself."

Other words that made Merriam-Webster's 2023 list include "rizz," popularized by TikTok and YouTube influencer Kai Cenat, "Deepfake," coronation" (after the crowning of British monarch Charles III, "Dystopian," "EGOT," "X," "implode," and more.

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