The Oxford English Dictionary has declared “goblin mode” as its word (or words?) of the year. The institution defines it as “a type of behavior which is unapologetically self-indulgent, lazy, slovenly, or greedy – typically in a way that rejects social norms or expectations.” It’s the first time a term has been chosen by the public.
“When I pointed out that I had never heard it before, a lot of my younger and groovier friends said, ‘Well, if you hung out on TikTok more, you'd have heard it a lot,” says Benjamin Dreyer, Random House’s copy chief and author of the New York Times bestseller “Dreyer’s English.”
He continues, “When you're going to go for something like the word, or words, of the year, you have a really fun opportunity … to really capture the mood of the moment, the mood of the year, and this one feels to me like a bit of a botch.”
He says “goblin mode” would have been more relevant last year, when many people were still “hiding at home,” and 2022 is more about returning to public places/events, like the theater.
Meanwhile, the Merriam-Webster Dictionary deemed “gaslighting” as its word of 2022. “It's a phrase and a concept that I have always loved and I really dote on.”