As the year 2023 comes to a close, English language dictionary publishers are announcing their choices for word of the year. The words usually come from popular usage, news events, or things that are on people’s minds.
Collins, a British publisher, has named “AI” as its word of the year for 2023. AI, short for artificial intelligence, is a term that describes “the modeling of human mental functions by computer programs.”
AI is increasingly becoming a part of everyday life. Just this year, the Beatles released a song with help from AI. The American toy company Mattel now uses AI to design new toy cars. A Kuwaiti news organization used AI to create “Fedha”, a female presenter to read the news. AI has also been used to identify an asteroid that could one day present a threat to Earth.
One of the best-known AI programs is ChatGPT. The program can have a discussion with people, write books, and create images. The program learns from a large database of books, online materials, and other media.
It can produce human-like writing. But, sometimes, its writings are not correct or do not make sense. When artificial intelligence produces such information, people say that the program has “hallucinated.”
The British dictionary publisher Cambridge chose “hallucinate” as its word of the year. It says the word “gets to the heart of why people are talking about AI.”
To “hallucinate” means to seem to see, hear, feel, or smell something that does not exist. But when used in connection to AI, it means to produce false information.
Cambridge says, “generative AI is a powerful tool but one that we’re all still learning how to interact with safely and effectively.” The publisher adds that “AI hallucinations remind us that humans still need to bring their critical thinking skills to use these tools.”
The American publisher Merriam-Webster chose “authentic” as its word of the year.
Merriam-Webster says it has seen a major rise in searches for “authentic” in 2023. The publisher says the searches are driven by “stories and conversations about AI, celebrity culture, identity, and social media.”
Authentic has several meanings, including “not false,” “true to one’s own personality” and “made or done the same way as an original.”
With the rise of artificial intelligence, Merriam-Webster says the line between “real” and “fake” has become increasingly unclear.
Other words Merriam-Webster considered include “deepfake,” “coronation,” “indict” and “rizz.”
The editors of the Oxford dictionary left the selection for Word of the Year to language lovers.
Over 30,000 people voted and selected four finalists for word of the year. They were “Swiftie” (fans of Taylor Swift), “situationship” (an informal romantic or sexual relationship), “prompt” (an instruction given to an artificial intelligence program), and “rizz.”
If you are not familiar with “rizz,” it is time to learn its meaning. It is Oxford’s word of the year. “Rizz” is believed to come from the word “charisma.” Oxford says it means having “style, charm or attractiveness.” It can also mean the “ability to attract a romantic or sexual partner.” The word is popular among Generation Z -- people born during the late 1990s and early 2000s.
“Rizz” can be used as a verb, too. To “rizz up” means “to attract, seduce, or chat up (a person).”
Oxford editors said they chose “rizz” as “an interesting example of how language can be formed, shaped, and shared within communities, before being picked up more widely in society.”
I’m Anna Matteo.
Hai Do wrote this lesson for VOA Learning English.
Words in This Story
asteroid – n. any of the small rocky celestial bodies found especially between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter
celebrity – n. a famous or celebrated person
original – adj. relating to or being the origin or beginning
coronation – n. accession to the highest office
indict – v. to charge with a crime by the finding or presentment of a jury (such as a grand jury) in due form of law
seduce – v. to persuade to do wrong : to persuade to have sexual intercourse