It is defined as behavior that is unapologetically self-indulgent, lazy, or greedy in a way that defies social norms.
Asked to sum up 2022 in one word, the global audience was almost unanimous in their choice of words.
Oxford Dictionaries said Monday that “goblin mode” has been chosen as word of the year by an online vote.
It defines the term as “a type of behavior that is unapologetically self-indulgent, lazy, careless, or greedy, usually in a way that defies social norms or expectations.”
First seen on Twitter in 2009, “goblin mode” gained popularity in 2022 as people around the world became insecure due to the mandatory lockdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The ‘goblin community’ has spoken!
We are pleased to announce goblin mode as the #OxfordWOTY 2022.
— Oxford University Press (@OxUniPress) December 5, 2022
“Given the year we’ve just been through, ‘goblin mode’ resonates with all of us feeling a little overwhelmed at the moment,” said Casper Grathwohl, the president of Oxford Languages, the creator of the Oxford English Dictionary.
“It’s a relief to recognize that we’re not always the idealized, curated selves we’re encouraged to showcase on our Instagram and TikTok feeds,” he continued.
Grathwohl pointed to the rise of platforms like BeReal, where users share images of their raw selves, often capturing self-indulgent moments in goblin mode.
“People are embracing their inner goblin, and voters are opting for ‘goblin mode,’ as the word of the year tells us the concept is likely to stick around,” he said.
The word of the year is intended to reflect “the ethos, mood or concerns of the past 12 months”.
For the first time, this year’s winning phrase was chosen by public vote, from three finalists selected by the Oxford Languages lexicographers: goblin mode, metaverse and the hashtag IStandWith.
Despite being relatively unknown offline, the goblin mode was the overwhelming favorite, winning 93 percent of the more than 340,000 votes cast.
The choice is more a testament to a troubled world after years of pandemic turmoil, and to the massive changes in behavior and politics brought about by social media.
Last week, Merriam-Webster announced that the word of the year is “gaslighting” — psychological manipulation designed to make someone question the validity of their own thoughts.
In 2021, the Oxford word of the year was “vax” and Merriam-Webster’s was “vaccine”.