Merriam-Webster ‘Word of the Year’ Is True To Form

( – The Merriam-Webster Dictionary has announced its “word of the year,” which for 2023 is the word “authentic.” Representatives say there has been a “significant” increase in searches for the word, which it defines as “not false or imitation, true to one’s own personality, spirit, or character.” The rise in its popularity is partly attributed to celebrity figures and its frequent appearance in so-called “woke” arenas, such as transgenderism and racial or social identity.

A second word that has seen its popularity boost is “deepfake.” Merriam-Webster defines this as an image or film that is altered to represent a person doing or saying something they have not done or said.

Deepfakes have already made their way into politics, and figures including President Biden, Nancy Pelosi, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have all been affected. For example, a video ostensibly showing the three famous figures during the January 6 protests on Capitol Hill was altered to include conversations that did not happen. In one scene, Nancy Pelosi calls for the protestors to be killed, while in another, President Biden tells Ocasio-Cortez to “let the men handle it.”

Merriam-Webster says there was a dramatic increase in searches for “deepfake” in March when manipulated clips of the arrest of Donald Trump circulated online. The first indictments were filed against Trump that month, but there was no arrest. He turned up to the New York court voluntarily.

Other popular words in 2023 include coronation, dystopian, indict, and doppelgänger, and last year’s number one word was “gaslighting.” This term describes deliberate psychological manipulation in which an abuser persuades their victim that their perceptions, memories, and judgments are wrong or false, causing them to question their own sanity.

The phrase came into use following a 1940 British movie in which a husband convinces his heiress wife that she is mentally unwell so that he can steal from her. Today, it is often used to describe political and media manipulation of audiences.

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