Collins Dictionary reveals its word of the year

Lexicographers say the term 'AI' came top as it has 'accelerated at such a fast pace'

There has been much debate about the use of artificial intelligence following the launch of text generator ChatGPT in November last year.
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The Collins Word of the Year 2023 has been revealed as the abbreviation of artificial intelligence – AI.

AI, which the dictionary said means the “modelling of human mental functions by computer programmes”, has dominated conversations in 2023.

There has been much debate about the use of the technology following the launch of text generator ChatGPT in November last year.

Lexicographers at Collins Dictionary put “AI” at the top of the list after looking at media sources, including social content, because the term has “accelerated at such a fast pace”.

“We know that AI has been a big focus this year in the way that it has developed and has quickly become as ubiquitous and embedded in our lives as email, streaming or any other once futuristic, now everyday technology,” said Alex Beecroft, managing director of Collins.

“Use of the word as monitored through our Collins Corpus is always interesting and there was no question that this has also been the talking point of 2023.”

Other words on Collins's list include “nepo baby”, which has become a popular phrase to describe the children of celebrities who have succeeded in industries similar to those of their parents, and “debanking” or depriving people of banking facilities

Former Ukip leader Nigel Farage hit the headlines when he said his Coutts account had been shut down by NatWest Group because his political beliefs did not align with the bank.

A report by law firm Travers Smith showed “serious failings” in the bank’s treatment of him but also said Mr Farage’s accounts being unprofitable was the principle reason for the decision.

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Oscar-winning actress Jamie Lee Curtis, the daughter of Janet Leigh and Tony Curtis, and singer Noel Gallagher, the father of model Anais Gallagher, have both spoken about the nepo baby debate.

Gallagher told Radio X it is “human to help your children”, while Curtis said after accepting a Screen Actors Guild award for her role in Everything Everywhere All At Once that people may “think, well, nepo baby”, but this is “amazing” personally.

Also on the list of key words is “ultraprocessed” or “ultra-processed” food and “semaglutide”, a medication used to control appetite.

Sold under the brand names Wegovy, Ozempic and Rybelsus, former prime minister Boris Johnson referred to the drug in his first Daily Mail column in June.

“The cost-of-living crisis is also inescapable, with words like greedflation rising sharply, shining a spotlight on corporates,” Mr Beecroft also said.

“Other words in the list have also provoked interesting conversations, particularly around people’s health, with ultra-processed coming into the attention of the media and semaglutide also making headlines.”

Social media terms such as “deinfluencing” or “de-influencing”, meaning to “warn followers to avoid certain commercial products”, and the TikTok trend of calling character-forming experiences “canon events” are also on the Collins list.

“Greedflation”, meaning companies pushing up the cost of goods to make a profit, and “Ulez”, or the ultra-low emission zone in London, were also mentioned.

This summer’s Ashes series between England and Australia had many people talking about a style of cricket called “Bazball”, according to Collins.

The term refers to New Zealand cricketer and coach Brendon McCullum, known as Baz, who has a philosophy of relaxed minds, aggressive tactics and positive vibes.

The lexicographers at Collins Dictionary monitor their 18-billion-word database to create the annual list of new and notable words that reflect our ever-evolving language and the preoccupations of those who use it.

Last year, they chose “permacrisis”, defined as “an extended period of instability and insecurity”, as word of the year.

Updated: November 01, 2023, 12:01 AM