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Goblin mode? Here’s what Oxford’s word of the year means

Have you been feeling a little down in the dumps recently? It might be all the negativity circulating on social media. Did you know you have some control over what you see? Tap or click here to find out how to filter certain words from your Facebook feed.

But you’re not alone if you haven’t been in the best of moods lately. Millions of people across the U.S., like you, regularly activate goblin mode. Don’t know what this means? It’s become such a popular term that it has been awarded the Oxford Word of the Year.

Read on to find out what it means and other quirky words that made it into the 2022 lexicon.

Here’s the backstory

The English language is strange and fascinating. Did you know there are several words to describe emotions? For example, compathy is the feeling of shared joy, while alexithymia is the inability to express feelings.

These terms might be old, but new words make it into our collective vocabulary every year. Scrabble, for example, added 500 new words to the popular board game, including atted (added someone to a post or tweet) and zoodle (zucchini noodles).

Some dictionaries add new words to their pages and choose a Word of the Year annually. Oxford’s Word of the Year for 2022 is goblin mode, and many might have gone into it without knowing.

According to Oxford, it means “a type of behavior which is unapologetically self-indulgent, lazy, slovenly, or greedy, typically in a way that rejects social norms or expectations.” The word made its first appearance online in 2009, but it wasn’t until February this year that it started appearing in newspapers and magazines.

The second most popular word of 2022, according to Oxford, is the virtual reality environment Metaverse, made famous by Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg. Third on the list is #IStandWith, used to identify people’s opinions and align their stances on specific events.

More words of the year

While Oxford chose goblin mode, Merriam-Webster took a different approach. Its Word of the Year is gaslighting, defined as the “psychological manipulation of a person usually over an extended period of time.”

Other popular words Merriam-Webster tracked throughout the year are oligarch, omicron, and codify. The Collins Dictionary went with permacrisis as its word of the year, which means “an extended period of instability and insecurity.”

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