'Goblin Mode' Is 2022's Word Of The Year. Here's What It Means

As we approach the end of 2022, it's simply impossible to sum it up in just one word or phrase. Luckily, Oxford Languages, the world-renown dictionary publisher behind the reputable and timeless classic that is the Oxford English Dictionary has that covered.

Perhaps we can take a look at word-of-the-year's past to refresh our collective memory. In 2020, the publisher itself couldn't even narrow it down to merely one word, so the publisher named multiple including "coronavirus" and "lockdown," amongst others (via The Guardian).

As we moved into 2021, phrases like the "new normal" gained popularity, as well as the cultural introduction of NFTs. 

But as early as last month, other reputable dictionary publishers like Merriam-Webster declared their Word of the Year: gaslighting, a term the dictionary defines as "psychological manipulation of a person."

However, this month, Oxford Dictionaries' Word of the Year is much different, and it may be well-known to some — especially those who are chronically online. 

Oxford Dictionaries' 2022 reveals Word of the Year is 'goblin mode'

Lazy, slovenly, self-indulgent. These are just some of the adjectives that are associated with Oxford Languages' 2022 Word of the Year, according to PBS News.

The Guardian builds on this explanation, illustrating a picture of a woman clad in loungewear seemingly doom-scrolling in bed surrounded by junk food, cigarettes, and Fiona Apple posters. To put it succinctly, the phrase defines people in a state that they may not present on social media and instead lean into the opposite of aesthetically pleasing and curated.

Twitter has talked about this term nearly all year, and when it was announced Oxford's Word of the Year, the internet sounded off. The phrase also beat out "Metaverse" for the annual accolade.

"Oxford's word of the year is 'Goblin Mode,'" one user tweeted. "Webster's word of the year is 'Gaslighting'. You can't tell me we don't live in a simulation."

Another user clearly resonates with the archetype that goblin mode seems to suggest, tweeting, "Goblin mode being the word of the year makes me so happy. We did it goblins!"

The internet keeps on winning, which makes us curious what 2023 will bring.