The 2023 Word of the Year is Authentic

In a year filled with AI creations, being authentic is valued more than ever.


A woman looking words up in a dictionary.

(Vitalii Stock /

Being authentic and real is something most people strive for. In these times of AI and fake news on social media, it’s no wonder that the word was chosen as the 2023 word of the year.

Authentic means not false or imitation and is a synonym of real and actual, according to a press release from Merriam-Webster, the American dictionary publishing company. For a word that is associated with reliability, authentic has a variety of meanings.

But it is still a difficult term to define and that could be why there was such a high volume of people looking up the word in 2023.

Being authentic is what most people, brands and social media influencers aspire to be but many miss the mark. When Twitter owner Elon Musk called on people to be more authentic on social media, his actions by not keeping fake news off of Twitter shows how difficult a task it can be.

Word of the year
Merriam-Webster has been announcing the word of the year since 2003. The publisher looks at the most-searched words in the dictionary’s 500,000 entries. The company’s data-crunchers filter out words like love or whether to use affect or effect, reported AP News.

The team also removes five letter words that are typically researched for Wordle and other word games, as well as foreign words.  They look for large lookup spikes due to world events, like an increase in words like implode and Kibbutz.

While lookups for the word authentic are usually heavy but it was significantly so this year, Merriam’s editor at large Peter Sokolowski told AP in an exclusive interview. “We see in 2023 a kind of crisis of authenticity. What we realize is that when we question authenticity, we value it even more,” he said.

Other words that stood out
The company announced that 13 additional words stood out, reported NPR, These words had direct tie ins with the year's biggest news stories and include: coronation, covenant, deepfake, dystopian, deadname, as well as the previously mentioned implode and kibbutz.

One thing is sure, people are still turning to their dictionaries to verify the meaning of new words or words that they don’t understand. This is good progress considering that the 2022 word of the year was gaslighting.

The Longest Word in the World is 183 Letters Long!
Celebrate the Season With These 9 Wintry Words
New Word of the Year Shows How Holding on to Dreams Endures