Top English words of 2023 – rizz, AI, authentic - GulfToday

Top English words of 2023 – rizz, AI, authentic

Illustrative image.

Illustrative image.

Three of the reputed English language dictionaries have each chosen a word of 2023, a word which came into prominence, whose use had increased during the year. It is not an event that is as glamorous as the Oscars, Globe, and Grammy awards. But people who love English are quite amused and excited when the word of the year emerges.

So, for the Oxford English Dictionary, popularly known as the OED, it is ‘rizz’. The people at the helm of the dictionary chose the word based on popular recommendation from among other words like ‘Swiftie’, ‘situationship’ and ‘prompt’. The Collins dictionary picked on ‘AI’, and said that it was the talk of the town in the year, and that its use had quadrupled compared to the previous year. Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the hoary American lexicon, chose ‘authentic’ as the word of the year.

Of the top words chosen by these three dictionaries, ‘rizz’ sounds intriguing and hip. It is the middle part of ‘charisma’, and it is being reasoned that it works on the same principle as ‘fridge’, which is plucked out from the middle of refrigerators. It became prominent on TikTok from influencer Kai Cenat, who comes from Bronx in New York, the troublesome neighbourhood where many African-Americas grow up.

Cenat, 21, says, “Rizz started with me and a few of my friends from back home.” His definition of rizz: a situation where a woman turns from being uninterested to intrigued. He goes on to say, “Rizz meant ‘game’. People say it is short for charisma. But like, not to me.”

Oxford Languages President Caspar Grathwohl explained ‘rizz’ in a press note: “Rizz is a term that has boomed on social media and speaks to how language that enjoys intense popularity and currency within particular social communities – even in some cases lose their popularity and become passe – can bleed into the mainstream.” That is an expert’s explanation, far removed from that of its ostensible originator Kai Cenat from Bronx.

The Collins Dictionary choice of ‘AI’ seems rather obvious because it has been in the news headlines the whole year. So, when BBC News asked ChatGPT for a comment on AI, it replied, “AI’s selection as the word of the year by Collins Dictionary reflects the profound impact of artificial intelligence on our rapidly evolving world, where innovation and transformation are driven by the power of algorithms and data.”

This reveals how unimaginative and exhaustive ChatGPT can be in explaining things. It shows that it lacks spark, and it can be said without much ado that it will not go too far.

Merriam-Webster Dictionary’s choice of the top word is rather simple and serious. ‘Authentic’ does not have the razzmatazz of ‘rizz’ or the technical authority of abbreviation like ‘AI’. But it really sounds authentic. Merriam-Webster said that there was an increase in online search for the meaning of the word ‘authentic’, and this was driven by “stories and conversations about AI, celebratory culture, identity, and social media.”

It is interesting that the runner-up in the Merriam-Webster dictionary race of the word of the year was ‘deep fake’, a manipulation of an image through AI. The word ‘authentic’ has also been popularised on social media by influencers. An American tycoon said people should be authentic in what they say on the social media platform.

The English language is supported by the dictionary-makers who keep a watch on the new words entering the language by usage by different age groups. So the English language stock is forever growing, and it is enriching itself in the process. This an interesting way of keeping a language on track as it were, going forward.

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