After a public vote, Oxford English Dictionary selects ‘goblin mode’ as its Word of the Year for 2022.

David Smith
Read Time2 Minute, 12 Second
  • Every year Oxford Dictionaries select a word to be added to the dictionary.
  • This word usually depicts the current state of the world. This year, that honour goes to ‘goblithmode’.

The Oxford English Dictionary selected the slang term “goblin mode” as the word of the year for the first time in its history, utilising a public vote. According to the dictionary, “goblin mode” is a slang phrase used to describe behaviour that is “unrepentantly self-indulgent, indolent, slovenly, or greedy, generally in a way that violates social standards or expectations.”
This term rose in popularity early this year as the concept of disregarding societal expectations in favour of doing whatever one desires.

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It is the first time Oxford Languages has opened its annual pick of the word of the year to public voting. A team of experienced lexicographers selected Metaverse, #IStandWith, and goblin mode from a broad range of deserving competitors. During the past two weeks, more than 300,000 English speakers participated in an online vote to determine the Word of the Year.

“goblin mode” received 93 percent of the more than 340,000 votes cast, while “Metaverse” received 4 percent. The “IStandWith” hashtag came in third place.


According to Oxford University Press, Metaverse is “an immersive virtual reality environment where users can interact with one another’s avatar.” ‘#IStandWith’, meanwhile, acknowledges the activity and divisiveness that have characterised this year.

“When new words capture our imagination or fill a void with a phrase for a thought we need to express, they gain popularity. What ‘goblin mode’ tells me is that it resonated with the sentiment that the pandemic is finished, but we are still battling it. Do we wish to return to the pre-pandemic standards of respectability?” Katherine Connor Martin, product director at Oxford Languages, stated in a telephone conversation with the New York Times.

In the meantime, the American dictionary publisher Merriam-Webster selected “gaslighting” as its word of the year for 2022. According to Merriam-Webster, searches for the term “gaslighting” on its website increased by 1,740% in 2022, indicating “considerable interest throughout the year.”


According to Merriam-Webster, the official definition of “gaslighting” is “psychological manipulation of a person, typically over an extended period of time, that causes the victim to doubt the veracity of their own thoughts, perception of reality, or memories and typically results in confusion, loss of confidence and self-esteem, uncertainty regarding one’s emotional or mental stability, and dependence on the perpetrator.”

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