Is "Goblin Mode" really the Word of the Year, or are we being gaslighted?

Every year, the publisher behind the Oxford English Dictionary picks a "Word of the Year" — something new that's gained notable prominence and frequency, with the potential to hold some lasting cultural significance as a common word. In 2013, that word was "selfie." This year, it's "goblin mode." From Oxford Languages:

'Goblin mode' – a slang term, often used in the expressions 'in goblin mode' or 'to go goblin mode' – is 'a type of behaviour which is unapologetically self-indulgent, lazy, slovenly, or greedy, typically in a way that rejects social norms or expectations.'

Although first seen on Twitter in 2009, goblin mode went viral on social media in February 2022, quickly making its way into newspapers and magazines after being tweeted in a mocked-up headline. The term then rose in popularity over the months following as Covid lockdown restrictions eased in many countries and people ventured out of their homes more regularly. Seemingly, it captured the prevailing mood of individuals who rejected the idea of returning to 'normal life', or rebelled against the increasingly unattainable aesthetic standards and unsustainable lifestyles exhibited on social media.

Runners-up include "metaverse" and "#IStandWith." However, Oxford's primary competitor, Merriam-Webster, insists that the word of the year is and has always been "gaslighting." That dictionary claims there was a 1740% increase in people looking up the word "gaslighting" this year. But other sources say that's not true.

Oxford Word of the Year 2022

Merriam-Webster Word of the Year 2022

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