Lindsay McMahon
"The English Adventurer"
Aubrey Carter
"3 Keys IELTS Certified Coach"

In today’s episode we discuss Merriam Webster’s word of the year for 2023.

Today we’ll share why native English speakers use this word so much.

We’ll break down the different meanings so you can use it in English conversations.

Lindsay sent a very interesting article to Aubrey.

It’s titled “Merriam-Webster’s word of the year definitely wasn’t picked by AI” written by Emily Olson.

The word of the year for 2023 is ‘authentic.’

The reason for the surge in the usage of this word is due to the rise of Artificial Intelligence.

It has been trending throughout 2023 due to the launch of ChatGPT.

Many have used the tool ChatGPT to write articles or clean up documents.

Others have kept an eye on whether output was done through the assistance of Artificial Intelligence.

They want to know if someone’s work is authentic or not.

Connection through vocabulary

Aubrey and Lindsay share the two definitions of authentic.

Both of these have been used commonly the past several years.

They also share more fantastic vocabulary used in the article shared above.

#1: Authentic

The article mentions that the word ‘authentic’ is associated with reliability but it can have more than one meaning.

A synonym for this word is ‘real’ which is defined as ‘not false’ or ‘is not an imitation of something.’

Another definition is referring to the truth of one’s personality, spirit or character.

Here are some examples:

  • First definition: In an episode of Antiques Roadshow, an expert checked the painting to see if it was authentic.
  • Second definition: Even on social media, a person should be their true, authentic self.

#2: Comeuppance

This refers to a form of punishment or a fate that one deserves.

The article mentions a certain New York congressman that got a comeuppance after years of lying.

This means the congressman got what he deserved as a punishment for his wrongdoings.

Here is another example:

  • Don’t worry about it. She’ll get her comeuppance.

#3: Onslaught

This means a large quantity of something that is difficult to cope with.

It has a negative connotation.

You wouldn’t say you had an onslaught of something good, like birthday presents.

A line from the article read: “2023 was the year that authenticity morphed into performance, its very meaning made fuzzy amidst the onslaught of algorithms and alternative facts.”

Here is another example:

  • I’m exhausted! I’m dealing with an onslaught of new clients at work!

Conversation starters

When you learn new vocabulary, it’s best to try and incorporate it into your English conversation.

This can help you improve your English speaking skills while you build a connection.

Here are some sample conversation starters recommended by Lindsay and Aubrey.

Use these to spark a conversation about these interesting topics.

  • Can you tell if something is authentic or if it was created by AI?
  • Do you feel you’re good at being your authentic self?


Here is an additional sample of how to use the vocabulary used in a conversation via a roleplay between Lindsay and Aubrey.

In this scenario, they are at the airport waiting for a flight.

Lindsay: There’s quite the onslaught of people here today!
Aubrey: Right? It’s so packed!
Lindsay: We’re definitely getting an authentic airport experience.
Aubrey: Maybe I deserve it. I’ve been really grumpy lately and haven’t always been patient. I’m worried I’m going to get my comeuppance.
Lindsay: That surprises me! I feel like when you’re being your authentic self, you’re so cheerful!


It’s not surprising that ‘authentic’ was chosen as the word of the year.

People are starting to appreciate authentic work in a world of Artificial Intelligence.

What is more, they want to be their authentic selves.

Use today’s vocabulary and conversation starters to connect in English!

Did you think ‘authentic’ was a good choice for 2023’s word of the year?

Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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