The anticipation was palpable as the rotund lady cleared her throat. Linguists such as thee waited on tenterhooks, for Collins dictionary to announce their ‘word of the year: 2023’. And then it was announced, and I was left as disappointed as a child with congenital sucrasa-isomaltase deficiency in a sweet shop: AI.

It was the word equivalent of the emperor’s new clothes as, well, AI is not ‘a’ word, but an acronym for Artificial Intelligence. The announcement was as dull as the book it serves, yet, sadistically I will be back in 2024 for more pain when Collins have nowhere to go other than upping the ante.

Other words of the year were somewhat more impressive and worthy of the mantle: Bazball, which I had never heard of, means ‘a style of test cricket in which the batting team plays in a highly aggressive manner’. Unsure of the origins of the word, no doubt it is named after someone who is a master of leather on willow, or whatever it is, called Barry, and unsurprisingly ‘Barryball’ doesn’t fit the mould of the average cricket connoisseur.

I could do with some ‘Semuglutide’ which is a medication used to suppress hunger. I reckon it is not needed by most of us however as rampant inflation and the never-ending cost of living crises have done more to suppress obesity due to lack of family finance, than a medication that few have heard of, let alone partaken in.

If up to me, the word of the year would have been one on the Collins shortlist: greedflation. The supermarket big boys, believing we are but a rabble of sub intellectual twonks have not only shifted the work onto us via self-service but also by using ‘inflation’ as the go to reason for doubling and trebling prices in the aisles as they unsurprisingly manage to keep profit margins at healthy levels. They then wring their hands and invite us to the pity party as they recount figures of shoplifting, which is now at epidemic levels as our morals, like our finances, become crippled.

Another word (again, technically an acronym) that made the list and has every London resident spitting feathers is ULEZ. A subsidiary word is also bandied around as it is touted as the ‘brainchild’ of the London Mayor, who seems hell bent on deflecting attention away from a homelessness epidemic that leaves London looking like a shantytown at times, as well as knife crime levels that makes Soweto look like St Tropez.

And last, but not least, Collins scraped the barrel with a word that I am sure has been around for donkeys: Nepo baby. It is a term used to describe a person in the entertainment industry whose career is believed to have been advanced by courtesy of having famous parents. Of course, they would muster, they would have reached the dizzying heights of an appearance on I’m a Celebrity or Children in Need anyhow, whilst we sit there knowing that the opposite is true as we are enriched with the talents of Beckham's kids, Peter Andre’s son, Tommy Fury, who has reached ‘fame’ through having a famous brother, and Ronan Kemp, to name but a few.

But alas, our feasting over the carcass of the slim pickings that make up the Collins word of the year are now over as no doubt you wish this column had been written by a more able entity such as Gordon Ramsey's offspring or artificial intelligence…

  • Brett Ellis is a teacher