What’s your word of the year? Here’s five you’ll hear in 2023

By Chad Carlton, Building Kentucky

It’s creepy how your phone and computer know what you’re thinking. If only human “listening” technology was as good as Google and as accurate as Apple.

Last year, I urged people to listen for words frequently heard in conversations and communications. And I suggested five words that would be familiar in 2022. My list – talent, technology, energy, infrastructure and compromise – proved to be amazingly on the mark, so I’ll try again.

Five words you will hear repeatedly in 2023:


I’m hesitant to mention Twitter or Elon Musk for fear of getting disconnected, banned or electronically erased. However, the financial quest to track our every movement and keystroke to predict and persuade means that privacy will be discussed a lot in the year ahead.

Social media channels are struggling to find the line before technology advances quickly blur it. As a result, we will be discussing how to keep some modicum of privacy in a world that’s rapidly eliminating the very concept.


Until recently, this word was largely reserved for describing a mash-up of cuisine or culture. But a life-changing breakthrough in nuclear technology, announced in California earlier this month, means this word’s scientific meaning will be the focus for the near future.

In short, scientists apparently solved a decades-long challenge by creating “net energy gain” in laboratory experiments. “Fusion holds the tantalizing promise of plentiful, carbon-free energy, without many of the radioactive headaches of fission-driven nuclear power,” says Science.org.

Imagine: unlimited energy without drilling, digging, burning or churning. Might take another few decades to harness, but we will be talking about it in the 2020s in the wide-eyed ways people discussed space exploration in the 1960s.


This four-letter word is everywhere – health care, childcare, eldercare, Medicare, selfcare, even “care-frontational.” At its root is the concern for well-being and health.

Aware Recovery Care, a rapidly growing regional company that helps people recover from addiction at home, and Dare to Care, the Louisville-based food bank that has been feeding the hungry for more than 50 years, are just two of our clients that make it a namesake part of their work.

Society’s struggles – violence, pandemic, mental health crisis, stress and more – are leading companies, agencies and families to place a greater emphasis on compassion and prevention. And that’s good news!


In an aggravating era of supply-chain shortages, patience is also in short supply. Our collective patience is lost and there’s no UPS tracking app to help us find it.

So, we will keep talking about patience as if it’s something we can’t control. Certainly, we can’t make traffic flow, interest rates slow, illness abate or friends change for the better. But we can focus our energies on what we often can control – when or where we drive, how much we buy or borrow, how we protect ourselves and treat others.


At our company, C2 Strategic Communications, we focus on community because our clients are community driven. It’s not an accidental pairing.

Community is a gathering of people by place, interest or characteristic. It’s a feeling of fellowship based on attitudes, goals and beliefs.

But community means different things to different people – LGBTQ+ community, pro-life community, Black community, small-town community, wealthy community and so on. Accepting people of different “communities” in a single geographic community often creates frictions, far from the root word – unity.

Which brings us back to listening. When we take time to listen to people, we often learn. Listening doesn’t make us change our minds, values or street addresses. It just makes us smarter.

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