‘Authentic’ is Merriam-Webster’s word of the year I Inquirer USA

Merriam-Webster’s word of the year says a lot about the rise of AI

“Authentic” surged in 2023 due to AI, celebrity culture, identity, and social media
/ 09:50 PM November 28, 2023

Merriam-Webster’s word of the year says a lot about the rise of AI

Photo by cottonbro studio/Pexels

Disney’s attempt to spread Thanksgiving joy on Nov. 24 backfired as social media users accused the company of leveraging Artificial Intelligence (AI) in a video featuring Mickey Mouse and friends on Instagram.

The alleged use of AI by the company, as reflected by the comments, not only eclipses the holiday initiative but also taps into broader concerns about the intersection of technology and authenticity.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Walt Disney World (@waltdisneyworld)

It’s worth noting its resonance with the recently released Merriam-Webster Word of the Year, “authentic,” underscoring the growing societal emphasis on genuine experiences in an increasingly digitized world.

According to a press release issued on Nov. 27 (PHT), “authentic” claimed its place as the word of the year due to its recurrent appearance among the dictionary’s vast lexicon, with a surge in searches throughout 2023.

The linguistic spotlight is said to be fueled by a spectrum of contemporary themes spanning AI, celebrity culture, identity, and the ever-evolving landscape of social media.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Merriam-Webster (@merriamwebster)

With its multifaceted meanings, encapsulating the notions of “not false or imitation” and staying “true to one’s personality, spirit, or character,” the term serves as a reflection of the zeitgeist.

Merriam-Webster noted that the term’s versatility, synonymous with concepts of reality and actuality, positions it as an inherently desirable quality in today’s society, but “is hard to define and subject to debate—two reasons it sends many people to the dictionary.”


They further elaborated on the selection, asserting that authenticity is frequently associated with expressions of identity.

Notably, the term has found favor among celebrities, including singers Lainey Wilson, Sam Smith, Taylor Swift, and even CEO Elon Musk. Throughout the year, these figures made headlines for their statements on seeking their “authentic voice” and embracing their “authentic self.”

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Taylor Swift (@taylorswift)

“And with the rise of artificial intelligence—and its impact on deepfake videos, actors’ contracts, academic honesty, and a vast number of other topics—the line between ‘real’ and ‘fake’ has become increasingly blurred,” the dictionary stated.

You may also like: From ‘finsta’ to ‘thirst trap,’ Merriam-Webster adds 690 new words to dictionary

As society grapples with the rise of AI and the nuanced challenges it presents, the resonance of “authentic” suggests a collective yearning for truth, sincerity, and genuine experiences, prompting people to double-check its meaning.

Meanwhile, Merriam-Webster also includes words “rizz,” “deepfake,” and “coronation” that defined the year.

Don't miss out on the latest news and information.
TAGS: artificial intelligence, Trending
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.
Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.