While we thought it was surprising enough that Merriam-Webster named “gaslighting” its 2022 word of the year, Oxford Dictionary is really keeping us on our toes by dubbing “goblin mode” the word (well, technically the phrase) of 2022, based on an online vote.
The word of the year reflects “the ethos, mood, or preoccupations of the past  months,” but 2022 marks the first time that the winner was selected via public vote. Goblin mode was selected as one of three finalists, beating out “metaverse” and the hashtag “IStandWith” by winning 93 per cent of the votes.
Oxford Dictionary defines “goblin mode” as “a type of behaviour which is unapologetically self-indulgent, lazy, slovenly, or greedy, typically in a way that rejects social norms or expectations.”
According to NBC News, the word first appeared on Twitter in 2009, but it recently gained popularity in 2022 as people emerged from their caves houses after pandemic lockdowns.
“Given the year we’ve just experienced, ‘goblin mode’ resonates with all of us who are feeling a little overwhelmed at this point,” Oxford Languages President Casper Grathwohl says. “It’s a relief to acknowledge that we’re not always the idealized, curated selves that we’re encouraged to present on our Instagram and TikTok feeds. This has been demonstrated by the dramatic rise of platforms like BeReal where users share images of their unedited selves, often capturing self-indulgent moments in goblin mode.”
If 2022 was all about gaslighting and going goblin mode, who knows what 2023 has in store.