authentic 2023 word of the year feature image

Authentic Rules 2023 as the Word of the Year

In a strong reflection of our times, Merriam-Webster, the authoritative voice in American English, has declared authentic as the Word of the Year for 2023. The selection is a powerful statement in an age where artificial intelligence and deepfakes blur the lines of reality. The rising prominence underscores a significant cultural moment. It’s a wake-up call signaling our collective quest for truth and genuineness in a world increasingly dominated by the digital realm.

Far from being a mere word choice for the year, authentic stands as a pivotal indicator of the values we are collectively seeking in our current era. The big increase in online searches for this term points to a widespread longing to engage with what is truly real and genuine. It’s a concept that commands our focus, echoing powerfully within our current society and highlighting a profound shift in our cultural priorities.

What does authentic mean?

Authentic refers to something or someone that is genuine, real, and true to its nature or origin. When something is genuine, it’s not fake or copied. It’s all about being honest and sticking to what you really are or what something was originally meant to be.


It’s about honesty and faithfulness to what something or someone originally is or was meant to be.

Think of it this way: an authentic piece, like a painting, is crafted by the original artist, not replicated or imitated. It’s the real deal, untouched by pretense or alteration. This concept is rooted in being genuine, sincere, and honest.

Now, let’s explore this idea further by contrasting it with its opposites or antonyms.

  • Fake
  • Counterfeit
  • Imitation
  • Artificial
  • Forged
  • Phony
  • Unoriginal
  • Inauthentic
  • Fabricated
  • Spurious

These antonyms shed light on what the word is not, offering a clearer understanding of its true meaning.

Additionally, the synonyms further illuminate its essence:

  • Genuine
  • Real
  • Original
  • True
  • Legitimate
  • Valid
  • Veritable
  • Sincere
  • Honest
  • Faithful

Each of these synonyms emphasize the importance of originality, truthfulness, and sincerity.

Examples of 2023’s word of the year

In Everyday Life

Merriam-Webster has noted how this word has become integral in daily life. Here’s a look at its impact:

πŸ‘₯ Personal relationships
Being true to oneself in relationships means not altering one’s personality for approval. A person who openly shares their real interests and views in friendships, instead of conforming to fit in, exemplifies this.

🎨 Art and collectibles
In the art world, an original piece is a creation directly from the artist, not a reproduction. Owning a painting by a famous artist means possessing the very work they crafted.

A letter of authenticity verifies originality and ensures value. For collectors, this letter is crucial as it safeguards their investment and confirms worth.

🌏 Cultural experiences
Genuine cultural experiences refer to activities that accurately represent a culture, unaltered for tourist appeal. Participating in a traditional Japanese tea ceremony, for instance, offers a real, culturally immersive experience, as opposed to a tourist-tailored version.

In Business

🏒 Branding
Real sincerity in branding manifests when a company aligns its practices with its values. A business claiming eco-friendliness, for example, should adopt sustainable practices, making its brand message a reality.

πŸ” Leadership
Leaders who personify their company’s values and lead by example demonstrate real sincerity. They ensure transparency and integrity, actively living out the values they preach.

πŸ“’ Advertising
Modern advertising embraces real customer stories and user generated content. This approach involves showcasing actual customer experiences and testimonials in advertising campaigns.

For instance, a brand might feature photos or videos submitted by real users using their products in everyday life. The strategy not only demonstrates the product’s real-world application but also builds a genuine connection with the audience by showcasing relatable and honest content.

🌟 Influencers
The role of influencers and affiliates has evolved with an increased emphasis on genuine endorsements. Now they are expected to provide honest endorsements, sharing their true experiences with products, thereby fostering trust and authenticity in their recommendations.

For example, an influencer using a skincare product over time and sharing their journey, including both successes and challenges, offers a realistic view to their followers. This transparency in sharing true experiences, rather than just scripted praise, not only enhances credibility but also creates a more relatable and trustworthy image for both the influencer and the brand they represent.

πŸ“ Customer reviews and testimonials
Genuine customer reviews, untainted by incentives, are pivotal in establishing a brand’s credibility, offering potential customers honest insights.

When it comes to both the personal and professional realm, embracing realness is about staying steadfast to one’s genuine nature or origins, maintaining integrity despite external influences.

The heart of modern connections

The crowning of the Word of the Year is more than just a linguistic accolade. Truly, it is a celebration of a transformation we at Roster have long championed. Moving past the era of ‘gaslighting,’Β  (2022’s Word of the Year) the focus on authenticity marks an important shift.

In a world teeming with digital innovations like artificial intelligence and virtual experiences, the importance of real connections has never been more pronounced. Furthermore, it’s about embracing and expressing our true selves.

The irony in a digital world

Yet, the digital world presents its own challenges in maintaining realness. Social media, despite promoting realness, often sees a balancing act between genuine self-expression and curated images. This paradox calls for a deep look at realness in an era where digital and physical personas merge.

Are we presenting our true identities, or are we molding ourselves to fit an online image?

The blurring of lines between our actual lives and our digital representations necessitates a reevaluation of what it means to be authentic in a world where these two realms are increasingly converging.

Be authentic!

In the marketing world, realness is no longer just a buzzword. It has evolved to be the cornerstone of trust and reliability. At Roster, we’ve always known the power of this influential word! For years, we have advocated for marketing strategies that revolve around genuine experiences and personal stories.

For example, consider brand ambassadors sharing their genuine passion for outdoor gear, infused with personal anecdotes and experiences. This isn’t mere marketing. It’sΒ about building connections through shared, real-life stories and experiences.

Also, the declaration of 2023’s word of the year mirrors a change in consumer expectations. People now desire open, honest interactions with brands. This shift in business communication and engagement reflects a deeper need for brands to be truthful and genuine.

The lasting impact

This focus on realness is in harmony with Roster’s mission: forging enduring, real connections. While navigating through a world where technology can obscure reality, the importance of staying true – to ourselves and others – is paramount. At Roster, we’re not just embracing this movement; we’re leading it, with our commitment to real interactions laying the foundation of our brand loyalty and customer relationships.

As we step into 2024, let’s embrace real experiences and champion genuine interactions. Authentic is not merely a word. Rather it is a guiding principle, a path to growth, and a commitment to honesty in our digital age. Let’s celebrate this milestone and continue to set an example, ensuring 2023 is a year marked by growth and real connections.

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