Education

December 6, 2022

Oxford Dictionary names ‘goblin mode’ its word of the year

By Biodun Busari

Oxford Dictionary has chosen “goblin mode” as the word of the year 2022 saying it came by this via online polls.

It 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”.

The word was first sighted on Twitter in 2009, and it gained popularity in 2022 as people around the world arose timidly from COVID-19 pandemic lockdowns.

Read also: Merriam-Webster dictionary names ‘gaslighting’ as most searched word in 2022

Speaking about ‘goblin mode’, Oxford Languages President, Casper Grathwohl said, “Given the year we’ve just experienced, ‘goblin mode’ resonates with all of us who are feeling a little overwhelmed at this point.”

The word of the year is projected to reflect “the ethos, mood, or preoccupations of the past 12 months”.

For the first time, this year’s winning phrase was selected by public vote, from among three final words picked by Oxford Languages lexicographers which were: goblin mode, metaverse and the hashtag IStandWith.

Despite being relatively unknown offline, ‘goblin mode’ was the overwhelming favourite, winning 93% of the more than 340,000 votes cast.

The choice is more evidence of a world unsettled after years of pandemic turmoil and by the huge changes in behaviour and politics brought by social media.

Last week, Merriam-Webster announced that its word of the year is “gaslighting” – psychological manipulation intended to make a person question the validity of their own thoughts.

In 2021 the Oxford word of the year was “vax” and Merriam-Webster’s was “vaccine”.