Wednesday, December 13, 2023

Words of the Year 2023


by Sybil Johnson 

Words of the year for 2023 have been announced by various organizations. A number of them use word of the year in the broader sense of vocabulary item so suffixes, phrases, etc. are fair game.

Merriam-Webster chose ‘authentic’ as their word for 2023. They define it as “not false or imitation,” or “true to one’s own personality, spirit, or character.” According to Merriam-Webster, look ups of authentic saw a substantial increase this year. I thought that was interesting. I guess the word has been bandied about lately. Don’t really remember that, but then I’m not up on what’s going on in the social media world these days. Other than Twitter/X’s rapid decline. Read more about it here

Collins, a British dictionary, chose “AI” as their word of the year defining it as “abbreviation for artificial intelligence: the modelling of human mental functions by computer programs.”. Artificial intelligence has certainly been in the news a lot this last year. This choice seems like a reasonable one to me. Read more here.

The Cambridge dictionary chose “hallucinate”. I wondered for a bit if I was hallucinating this, but then I read on. Apparently, this also has to do with AI. From the Cambridge website, “When an artificial intelligence hallucinates, it produces false information.” Read more here

The Macquarie Dictionary (Australian English) chose "cozzie livs". Sounds pretty Australian, doesn’t it? It was coined in the UK, though, but seems to resonate with Australians. This is a light-hearted play on cost of living. “Blue-sky flood” and “algospeak” were honorable mentions.Blue-sky flood comes from floods that occur  not from rain storms, but attributable to high tides or rising sea levels. These often occur when skies are clear. Algospeak is another reference to AI. It refers to “code words or turns of phrase users have adopted in an effort to create a brand-safe lexicon that will avoid getting their posts removed or down-ranked by content moderation systems.” They also have a People’s Choice word of the year: generative AI. Read more here.

The Oxford Dictionary’s word of the year is “rizz”. This is short for charisma or“someone's ability to attract another person through style, charm, or attractiveness.” The finalists were “prompt” (an instruction given to an artificial intelligence program, algorithm, etc., which determines or influences the content it generates), “situationship” (a romantic or sexual relationship that is not considered to be formal or established), “Swiftie” (an enthusiastic fan of the singer Taylor Swift). I don’t know if Taylor Swift’s popularity has increased, but she sure has been in the news lately. She seems to have “rizz”. Read more here

The American Dialect Society will select its word of the year at its annual meeting in January 2024. The 2023 word of the year was a suffix “–ussy”. Not sure why this is. I guess a lot of people have been putting it at the end of words. And, apparently, I am out of touch with this trend. You can read more about why they chose it here.

I noticed that a lot of them have to do with artificial intelligence. Not really all that surprised about that.

What word do you think should be the word of the year?


Mario Acevedo said...

Great post. All us writers love words.

Sybil Johnson said...

We do indeed.