The Oxford Dictionary has named ‘Goblin Mode’ the defining word of the year 2022. While it seems like an alien term, it’s not. It was not chosen at random; it speaks volumes and accurately describes the global cultural shift.
Goblin mode means “unapologetically self-indulgent, lazy, slovenly, or greedy behaviour, typically in a way that rejects social norms or expectations.”
It has now been selected as the first word of the year by popular vote. More than 340,000 English speakers from around the world voted on a list of three terms chosen by lexicographers at Oxford University Press (OUP). The second option was “Metaverse,” and “#IStandWith” came in third. Goblin mode was chosen by 318,956 individuals, accounting for 93% of the total vote.
Katherine Connor Martin, product director at Oxford Languages, told The New York Times in a telephone interview, “New words catch on when they capture our imagination, or fill a hole with a word for a concept we need to express.” She further stated, “What ‘goblin mode’ tells me is it resonated with the feeling that the pandemic is over, but we’re still grappling with it. Do we want to go back to the notions of respectability of the prepandemic world?”
After the announcement, the Twitterati jammed the microblogging site, reacting to the word. One user wrote, “Today I learned about #goblinmode and my life makes sense now.” Another user wrote, “LOL, I am in #goblinmode most of the time.” A third user commented, “If I had to define this year as a term I’d probably use “goblin mode” too…so I get it Oxford.”