Central Oregon Daily2023 in other words: AI the term of the year? Consider these...

2023 in other words: AI the term of the year? Consider these other contenders

2023 in other words: AI the term of the year? Consider these other contenders

words

(AP) Many sentiments are universal. Many words are not. As 2023 ends, The Associated Press reached out to colleagues around the world for terms that emerged this year and seized or crystalized the popular mood.

Some were newsy, some cultural. A couple were kind of delightful. Whatever the language, the emotions came through. Some might consider AI, or artificial intelligence, as 鈥渢he鈥 word of 2023, while Merriam-Webster went with聽鈥渁uthentic聽鈥 and Oxford University Press named聽鈥渞izz,鈥聽a riff on charisma.

We wanted to share diverse examples of what folks in Germany call a 鈥済efluegeltes Wort,鈥 or 鈥渨ord with wings.鈥

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Password child: Australia

The Macquarie Dictionary in Australia has named a 鈥渨ord of the month鈥 all year. One was 鈥渃ozzie livs,鈥 slang for聽cost of living. Another was 鈥渕urder noodle鈥 for snake, both cute and accurate in a country that鈥檚 home to the world鈥檚 most venomous one.

But we鈥檙e going with 鈥減assword child,鈥 which families anywhere can appreciate. It refers to a child seen as favored over siblings because their name is used in parents鈥 passwords.

鈥 Rod McGuirk in Canberra, Australia

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Kitawaramba: Kenya (kiSwahili) It will come back to haunt you

This was uttered by Kenyan pastor Paul Mackenzie, who was accused of leading a聽starvation doomsday cult聽that led to the deaths of more than 400 people.

He said it as people confronted him while he waited to be driven to court. The unfamiliar word appeared to be a threat, and it quickly took on a life of its own. Kenyans used it to warn others that something bad may happen to them for their actions.

The word captured the mood with the rising cost of living. With every new economic policy by President William Ruto鈥檚 administration, some Kenyans say the related term 鈥渒imeturamba鈥 鈥 that electing him has come back to haunt them.

鈥 Carlos Mureithi in Nairobi, Kenya

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Bwa kale: Haiti (Creole) Peeled wood

This became a death cry against聽violent gangs in Haiti聽this year. Civilians chanted the phrase as they pursued suspected criminals. The vigilante movement has killed more than 300 suspected gang members, according to the United Nations.

The term had long been used in Haitian street slang to insinuate male dominance and power. Now it has spread overseas, with a video on social media showing a group of Latino soccer fans 鈥 it was not clear from what country 鈥 chanting 鈥淏wa kale!鈥 after their team beat an opponent.

Some businesses even use the phrase to promote their wares. One restaurant featured a 鈥渂wa kale鈥 special: a hamburger skewered by a stick with two small chunks of meat on top. It came with a side of nachos and three bottles of Prestige, a local beer.

鈥 Danica Coto in San Juan, Puerto Rico

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Spy balloon: United States

Perhaps no other term this year defined the growing wariness between the world鈥檚 two largest economies. It began, movie-like, with Americans noticing a聽mysterious white orb聽in the sky. Some watched as fighter jets circled and shot down the balloon that for days had wandered across the continental United States.

鈥淚 did not anticipate waking up to be in a 鈥楾op Gun鈥 movie today,鈥 one witness said.

China rejected allegations of surveillance and insisted that balloon and others were purely for civilian purposes. It never used the term 渚︽帰姘旂悆 (zhen tan qi qiu), or spy balloon, and instead used 姘旇薄姘旂悆 (qi xiang qi qiu), meaning 鈥渨eather balloon.鈥

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Kuningi: South Africa (isiZulu) It鈥檚 a lot

This word gained popularity among South Africans to express frustration over multiple controversies occurring at the same time.

In 2023, some South Africans wondered if they could handle much more. They faced record聽electricity outages. The government was under fire for its close聽relationship with Russia. Soaring incidents of crime included a daring prison escape by a convicted murderer who faked his death.

On days that seemed too much, 鈥渒uningi鈥 captured how overwhelmed South Africans could become.

鈥 Mogomotsi Magome in Johannesburg

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C鈥檈st la hess: France (French) It鈥檚 a bummer

Young people insist on keeping the French language plastic despite efforts, backed by law, to preserve it from foreign encroachment.

鈥淐鈥檈st la hess鈥 speaks to the multiculturalism of France even as some views continued to聽harden this year against immigration, shown by the steady progression of the far right.

The phrase is among dozens of words and expressions derived from Arabic, which those under 25 in France have made their own. France has the biggest Muslim population in Western Europe and a long history of immigration from former colonies in North Africa.

鈥 John Leicester in Paris

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绋 (zei): Japan (Japanese) Taxes

In a closely watched event on Tuesday, the top Buddhist monk at the Kiyomizu Temple in Kyoto used a brush to write the kanji character of the year on the temple balcony.

The Japanese public chose 鈥渮ei鈥 to best represent 2023 amid聽speculation about tax hikes聽to fund the聽country鈥檚 military buildup.

Under the latest national security strategy, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida鈥檚 government is pursuing a five-year plan to double Japan鈥檚 annual defense spending to about 10 trillion yen ($69 billion). That would make the country the world鈥檚 No. 3 military spender after the United States and China.

鈥 Mari Yamaguchi in Tokyo

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The nones: Global: Nonbelievers

In many countries, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of people who are nonbelievers or unaffiliated with any organized religion. They have become known as the 鈥渘ones鈥 鈥 atheists, agnostics, or nothing in particular 鈥 and they comprise 30% or more of the adult population in the United States and Canada, as well as numerous European countries. Japan, Israel and Uruguay are among other nations where large numbers of people are secular.

In a聽recent package of stories, The Associated Press Religion Team took an in-depth look at how this phenomenon is playing out in several places.

鈥 David Crary in New York

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灞遍亾鐚村瓙 (shan dao hou zi): Taiwan (Mandarin) Mountain roadmonkey

This first emerged as a grumbling way to refer to riders who treated Taiwan鈥檚 winding mountain roads as a racetrack. But the term became a popular shorthand for young people鈥檚 economic pressures in August, when a YouTube user dropped a 20-minute film called the 鈥淟ife of a Mountain Roadmonkey.鈥 It touched a nerve, attracting nearly 7 million views.

The 鈥渞oadmonkey鈥 is a motorcyclist who tries to become an Instagram influencer. He lends his girlfriend money to upgrade her bike, but she cheats on him and leaves him. In debt, he works overtime to rebuild his savings, becoming isolated from friends. Ultimately, he dies in a crash.

His story touched off a discussion about the low wages and long hours for many in Taiwan, where housing and traditional 鈥渟uccess鈥 are often out of reach.

鈥 Huizhong Wu in Taipei, Taiwan

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Bharat: India (Sanskrit) India

When a dinner invitation sent to guests of the G20 meeting in India featured the word 鈥淏harat,鈥 the immediate question for many was whether the country of more than 1.4 billion people would now be called by its聽ancient Sanskrit name.

Many saw 鈥淏harat鈥 as a political move by Prime Minister Narendra Modi鈥檚 Hindu nationalist government. The word resonated with Modi鈥檚 supporters, who argued it would salvage the country from the taint of colonialism. But Muslims and other minority groups felt even more uncomfortable.

The name has now been used at various international forums. But there has been no formal announcement of a name change.

鈥 Sheikh Saaliq in New Delhi

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Quoicoubeh! France (French) Who knows?

This word became super popular with French teenagers this year. They use it to annoy their elders, and it doesn鈥檛 have a real meaning. It鈥檚 simple: A teen says something inaudible, hoping that parents or teachers will answer 鈥淨uoi?鈥 or 鈥淲hat?鈥 The response : 鈥淨uoicoubeh!鈥

Its origins remain mysterious, although Radio France suggested it was inspired by a play on words from Ivory Coast, where some respond 鈥渜uoicou鈥 to a person saying 鈥渜uoi.鈥 An AP journalist in Ivory Coast, however, said that 鈥渦nfortunately,鈥 he had never heard of this.

In any case, a word open to interpretation seems like a good way to enter 2024 and whatever lies ahead.

鈥 Samuel Petrequin in Paris

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