The Words of the Year for 2022

Do you know these two words? One was new to me.

The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) and the Merriam-Webster Dictionary have announced their respective words of the year for 2022. One of them I was familiar with and have used multiple times in conversation in the last couple of years. The other, admittedly, was new to me. Both start with the letter G.

Oxford English Dictionary’s Word of the Year

OED lexicographers selected goblin mode, a slang term describing lazy, unmotivated, self-indulgent behavior. A person in goblin mode, for example, may devote long hours to lying around in their pajamas and accomplishing nothing of significance. This one was new to me, but I’ll certainly remember to use it the next time I “veg out” in my PJs. And if you were to observe the mostly disheveled state of my home study, you might conclude that I was in perpetual goblin mode.

Merriam-Webster’s Word of the Year

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary chose gaslighting as their 2022 word of the year. Now, this one I knew about and have used multiple times in discussing what many politicians and the news media do to the public on a nearly continuous basis. It involves generous amounts of misinformation, disinformation, and outright deception. The word derives from the play (and movie) Gaslight, eight decades ago, that details how a woman was made to believe she was losing her mind through the constant manipulation and lies of her husband.

Here is Merriam-Webster’s online full definition of gaslight: “to psychologically manipulate (a person) usually over an extended period of time so that the victim questions the validity of their own thoughts, perception of reality, or memories and experiences confusion, loss of confidence and self-esteem, and doubts concerning their own emotional or mental stability.”

Here’s a challenge: Use goblin mode and gaslighting in a conversation today. (Unless, of course, you won’t have any conversations because you’re in goblin mode all day.)


The photo shows Ingrid Bergman and Charles Boyer in the 1944 movie Gaslight. For more information about this classic film, consult Internet Movie Database (IMDB).

Author: Dean Christensen

Educator, copyeditor, writer, baseball bug, word lover, book hound, guitar picker, classical music aficionado, classic rock 'n' roll and movie buff, sinner, saint, former this, used-to-be that, and future who-knows-what. Every day is an adventure in learning how to make the world a better place--grammatically, anyway.

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