Gaslighting – word of the year


I’ve read online articles about gaslighting. By publishers such as Psychology Today, Washington Post, Wired, Huffpost. Hopefully most everyone understands what this is about – in personal & social relationships, corporate PR, and politics. Misleading communications, misinformation, manipulation, abuse.

As Carl Sagan discussed regarding critical thinking skills, a good “baloney detection kit” protects against false narratives, especially in unequal power relationships.

This article includes some historical recap. As well as mentioning the rest of the year’s Top 10 words.

• AP News > “‘Gaslighting’ is Merriam-Webster’s word of the year for 2022” by LEANNE ITALIE (November 28, 2022)

(quote) Merriam-Webster’s top definition for gaslighting is the psychological manipulation of a person, usually over an extended period of time, that “causes the victim to question the validity of their own thoughts, perception of reality, or memories and typically leads to confusion, loss of confidence and self-esteem, uncertainty of one’s emotional or mental stability, and a dependency on the perpetrator.”

“It’s a word that has risen so quickly in the English language, and especially in the last four years, that it actually came as a surprise to me and to many of us,” said Peter Sokolowski, Merriam-Webster’s editor at large, in an exclusive interview with The Associated Press ahead of Monday’s unveiling.

2 comments on “Gaslighting – word of the year

  1. Goblin mode

    Here’s Oxford University Press’ word of the year 2022 (the Press publishes the Oxford English Dictionary). The article includes the runner-up words, as well as past words of the year.

    • > “Oxford word of the year 2022 revealed as ‘goblin mode’” by Imogen James, BBC News (12-5-2022)

    The first Oxford word of the year to be chosen by public vote has been announced.

    The winning word, “goblin mode“, is a slang term describing “unapologetically self-indulgent, lazy, slovenly, or greedy” behaviour.

    Thousands managed to drag themselves out of goblin mode to vote, as the phrase won by a landslide with 318,956 votes, making up 93% of the total.

    It is the first time the word of the year has been chosen by the public, a decision made in a year organisers described as “more divided than ever”.

    Casper Grathwohl, president of Oxford Languages, said that people have been embracing their inner goblin.

    He added: “We were hoping the public would enjoy being brought into the process, but this level of engagement with the campaign caught us totally by surprise.

  2. Goblin mode

    Another take on Oxford University Press’ word of the year 2022.

    • The Atlantic > Culture > “We’re All Capable of Going ‘Goblin Mode'” by Caleb Madison (December 10, 2022) – In goblin mode, we can become our true wild selves, unkempt and offstage, triumphantly invisible to the public eye.

    (quote) People have gone other modes before: We started to go beast mode, for example, in 2007, with savage mode and sicko mode following later. The metaphor originates in video games, where navigating a hidden challenge might activate another “mode”: a special style of gameplay where you might move 10 times faster or appear as a zombie.

    Western mythology is littered with all sorts of goblins … Goblins tend to lurk in cozy spaces. … Goblins represent the impish un-self-consciousness of our private lives. … In the early days of the pandemic, many of us unlocked a new mode in the video game of life: demonically uninhibited domesticity. … I might define goblin mode as “unbridled domestic liberation” or “a complete shedding of the mask of public life” or, my personal favorite, “staying home and getting weird.”

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