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Word of the Year

WORDS MATTER Merriam-Webster picks a top word every year. Recent choices include gaslighting and pandemic. STEPHEN BLUE FOR TIME FOR KIDS

Merriam-Webster has announced its 2023 word of the year: authentic. The dictionary publisher highlights a word every year. The selection is based on searches on the company’s website and on world events.

One definition of authentic is “not false or imitation: real, actual.” The word has been used in this sense because of the rise of AI-generated images and text. “We don’t always trust what we see anymore,” says Merriam-Webster editor Peter Sokolowski.

The word also means “true to one’s own personality, spirit, or character.” This year, celebrities and global leaders have said they strive to be authentic in their words and actions. Other top words of 2023 are deepfake, indict, and rizz.